With the news that 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah will run in the 2015 Travers Stakes at Saratoga Race Course, also known as the Spa, in Saratoga Springs, New York, on Sunday, August 30, 2015, this three-year old race has suddenly become very interesting. Here is a look at the betting odds for the horses who are eligible to run in the 2015 Travers Stakes.
The purse for the 2015 Travers Stakes was $1.25 million but if American Pharoah starts the race the purse will increase by $350,000 to $1.6 million. While the increase in the purse could have been a factor in the decision to run American Pharoah in the Travers, the increase was also aimed at attracting and keeping other horses in the race to face American Pharoah.
The odds listed below are just Las Vegas odds and not the actual odds these horse will go off at. Some of the horses listed below will end up not running in the Travers. Unfortunately, one of the horses who would probably have run named Japan suffered a career ending injury yesterday in training. Japan, trained by Bill Mott, would have been a very interesting horse in the Travers because he had speed and ability.
1. American Pharoah – 1/3 odds
American Pharoah will be a prohibitive favorite in the 2015 Travers Stakes and his early odds in Las Vegas are 1 to 3 to 1 . Those are very low odds but the 2015 Triple Crown winner has won eight races in a row in very convincing fashion. The only loss America Pharoah has suffered to date came in his very first race in a maiden special weight race where he ran fifth. After that first race, American Pharoah was put right into the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity and he won that race easily and has not lost since.
Saratoga is well known as the Graveyard of Favorites as all-time great horses like Secretariat, Gallant Fox and Man ‘o War all lost at Saratoga as heavy favorites. In 1973, Secretariat came to Saratoga as the Triple Crown winner that year and lost to the Allen Jerkens trained Onion by one length as a prohibitive favorite. The great Man o’ War lost for the only time in his career at Saratoga to a horse appropriately named Upset in the Sanford Stakes in 1919. In 1930, Triple Crown winner Gallant Fox lost as a prohibitive favorite in the Travers Stakes to Jim Dandy.
2. Frosted – 4 to 1
At odds of 4 to 1, Frosted is the second choice behind American Pharoah according to Las Vegas odds makers. Frosted is a talented horse that has seconditis as he has run 10 times and won twice but finished second six times. One of his second place finishes was to American Pharoah in the Belmont. In his last start, Frosted ran at Saratoga in the Jim Dandy and ran second to Texas Red.
3. Texas Red – 5 to 1
After winning the Jim Dandy in his last start at Saratoga on August 1, 2015, Texas Red is third choice in the 2015 Travers at 5 to 1 odds. Texas Red won the Breeders Cup Juvenile race in 2014 so he is a quality horse. Personally, I’m leery of Texas Red because he’s only won three races in eight starts and his odds will likely be too low for his probability of winning the 2015 Travers.
T-4. Keen Ice – 20 to 1
Keen Ice is 20 to 1 odds to win the Travers Stakes after he ran second to American Pharoah beaten by 2 1/2 lengths in the Haskell in his last start. One thing I’ve learned as a horse racing fan is that a horse that runs second to another horse is a threat to come back and beat that horse in their next start, but Keen Ice has only won a maiden race in 10 career starts.
T-4. Upstart – 20 to 1
Upstart ran third in the Haskell in his last start which was his first start since he ran miserably in the Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday in May. He could improve in his second start off a layoff but Upstart has yet to show he can handle a horse of American Pharoah’s caliber so far in his career. If Pharoah is on his game I don’t think Upstart can beat him.
6. Madefromlucky – 30 to 1
Madefromlucky comes into the 2015 Travers off a win in the West Virginia Derby. The problem with this horse is that he has faced American Pharoah twice and lost miserably both times – by nine lengths in the Arkansas Derby and by 17 3/4 lengths in the Belmont. Madefromlucky did win the Peter Pan in time that is fast enough to comepte vs American Pharoah but will he replicate that run in the Travers?
7. Mr Z – 40 to 1
Mr Z could be a pace factor in the 2015 Travers as he’s had the lead in his last two starts one of which was a wire-to-wire win in the Ohio Derby. But Mr Z has run three times against American Pharoah in the Arkansas Derby, Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, and he’s lost to the Triple Crown champ by a total of 42 lengths combined over those three races.
8. Tommy Macho – 40 to 1
Tommy Macho is a lightly raced Todd Pletcher trainee who has won twice in five career starts. In his last start he ran miserably in the West Virginia Derby. Back in June, Tommy Macho won an allowance race at Belmont racing near the lead in a time that is fast enough to compete in the 2015 Travers. To compete in the Travers this horse will have to race near the lead and run like he did in that allowance race.
T-9. Far Right – 50 to 1
Far Right is a stone cold closer who lost to American Pharoah by eight lengths in the Arkansas Derby and by 12 lengths in the Kentucky Derby. To win this race, Far Right would need a wicked pace duel which could happen but is unlikely to happen in the 2015 Travers.
T-9. Smart Transition – 50 to 1
Smart Transition has won two races in six starts so far in his career. He’s making his Grade 1 stakes debut in the 2015 Travers and he would have to really step up his game to win this race. An unlikely winner but a horse I will throw into exotic tickets if he runs.
T-9. Tale of Verve – 50 to 1
After running a decent second to American Pharoah at big odds in the Preakness, Tale of Verve got waxed by 20 1/2 lengths in the Belmont. In his last start, Tale of Verve ran 6th in the West Virginia Derby. This horse is a stone cold closer who has only won his maiden race in seven career starts. An unlikely winner.
12. Frammento – 60 to 1
Frammento is another stone cold closer who will need a wicked pace duel to have a chance to win the 2015 Travers. This horse has won just his maiden race in 10 career starts. Another very unlikely winner of the 2015 Travers. There’s likely just not enough pace in this race for the closers in 2015.
T-13. Face of Winner – 100 to 1
Can Face of Winner actually win the 2015 Travers Stakes? Probably not but at least this horse has a few things going for him. He’s a speedy type horse so he could be near the pace in the race and he has won two races in eight career starts and he’s 100 to 1 odds. That makes him a better bet than the stone cold closers in this race who have only won once in their careers and are much lower odds.
T-13. King of New York – 100 to 1
King of New York is another stone cold closer who on paper has little chance to win the 2015 Travers Stakes at Saratoga. King of New York has won two races in 13 starts with one of his wins coming on the turf. Due to his high odds you might want to throw this horse into your exotic tickets.
T-13. Mid Ocean – 100 to 1
Mid Ocean just broke his maiden in his last race at Delaware in mid-July. That is not exactly the kind of racing pedigree one would be looking for in a horse to win the 2015 Travers Stakes. Especially when the horse is facing a Triple Crown winner who has won eight consecutive races in very impressive fashion.