The Mid-Summer Derby is now the Mid-Summer Derby Prep thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The $1 million Travers Stakes was shifted to Aug. 8 from its traditional spot on the last Saturday in August so that the Grade 1 fixture can serve as a stepping stone to the rescheduled Kentucky Derby, now set for Sept. 5 at Churchill Downs.
And this year the Travers will be run in front of an empty grandstand at Saratoga.
What hasn’t changed is the fact that the Travers will draw some of the top 3-year-olds in training, with New York-bred Tiz the Law heading the field in the 1 1/4-mile event.
Run for the first time in 1864, the Travers will be televised for the second straight year on Fox, with coverage from 5-6:30 p.m.
Kentucky Derby Trail: If Tiz the Law win Triple Crown, no asterisk needed
Here are the potential contenders for the 2020 Travers Stakes:
Trainer: Barclay Tagg
Jockey: Manny Franco
One of only two Kentucky Derby contenders with two Beyer Speed Figures of 100 or higher this year, along with Art Collector. In his 3 3/4-length victory in the Belmont Stakes, Tiz the Law appeared more than capable of handling an extra furlong, covering the final furlong in a quick 12.07 seconds. The son of Constitution broke his maiden at Saratoga in impressive fashion on Aug. 8, 2019, exactly one year removed from Travers Day.
Trainer: Chad Brown
Jockey: Irad Ortiz
Sent off as the third choice in the Grade 3 Peter Pan at Saratoga on July 16, Country Grammer stalked the early leaders before winning a stretch battle with Caracaro to win by a head. Purchased for $450,000 as a 2-year-old, Country Grammer’s sire, Tonalist, finished third in the 2014 Travers, while Brown has been the top trainer at the Spa three times in the last four years.
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Jockey: Luis Saez
This $250,000 yearling purchase may only have two career starts, but they’ve both been impressive. After Uncle Mo colt broke his maiden by seven lengths at Santa Anita on June 12, before winning the Grade 3 Los Alamitos Derby by four lengths on July 4, racing on or just off the pace in both race. Baffert has won the Travers three times, with his last coming in 2017 with West Coast.
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Trainer: Linda Rice
Jockey: Joel Rosario
Coming off a layoff of more than four months after a victory in the Grade 3 Withers Stakes, Max Player turned in the most impressive performance of his career with a third-place finish in the Belmont Stakes on June 20. A closer who likes to come from far off the pace, the Travers’ 10-furlong distance will suit his running style. Rice is looking to become the first female trainer to win the Travers.
Trainer: Gustavo Delgado
Jockey: Javier Castellano
One of the least experienced contenders with just three career starts, Caracaro is coming off an impressive runner-up finish in the Peter Pan Stakes, taking the lead at the head of the stretch and battling Country Grammar down the lane, eventually losing by a neck. The Uncle Mo colt broke his maiden at Gulfstream on Jan. 11, winning by 7 1//2 lengths,
Trainer: Brad Cox
The son of Street Sense is coming off a victory in the Grade 3 Indiana Derby in which he rallied from off the pace to win impressively on July 8. In his previous start, Shared Sense finished second in a allowance race at Churchill Downs behind Art Collector, who was credited with a 102 Beyer Speed Figure in that race and also ran 103 Beyer that ranks as the highest number among Kentucky Derby contenders. Street Sense won the Travers in 2007.Get the Inside the NFC East newsletter in your inbox.
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Trainer: Michael Stidham
Jockey: Jose Ortiz
This lightly-raced son of Ghostzapper, who broke his maiden at the Fair Grounds on March 21, is coming off a third-place finish in the Peter Pan Stakes behind Country Grammer. Mystic Guide likes to come from well off the pace, rallying from next-to-last in the Peter Pan. The extra furlong figures to serve him well.
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