Travers Stakes (08/08/20)

Saratoga, Race 11

With a cool million up for grabs ($535k to the winner), it's Travers Day in New York. A field of 3-year old Derby hopefuls will get tested at 10 furlongs, a distance none of these has tried. We'll take a look at these sophomores trying the big stretch out in distance from a Predicteform Pace Figure standpoint.

#2 Country Grammer 6/1

The 59/71 REV and 69/71 NPT combo produced an improvement to 72/75 DTOP 2 starts back. The lightly-raced runner used that form to breakthrough at 9 furlongs with a 66/75 win. The dirt spread (4F minus Final) of -9 falls pretty closely in line with several other runners coming off similar efforts. Runner is solid but doesn't stand out when compared to others sitting on similar 4F Figures but with slightly bigger spreads in the -11 range. We'll want to determine fair value to take.

#3 Uncle Chuck 5/2

Perfect through 2 starts, the 77/77 COMP debut is a strong line for a runner that distributed energy evenly over the race and often signals an improvement to their 2nd career start. In that one, Chuck distributed his energy nicely to later in the race going 9 furlongs with a 68/79 REV. The REV (Reversal) pattern is a nice move for horses looking to stretch out so today's 10 furlong try is picture perfect.

#4 Max Player 6/1

DTOP Patterns are often peak performance spots that lead to next out regression in runners without ample rest. However, lightly-raced developing runners are always eligible to break through a DTOP which we've seen Max do twice now. My concern is the foundation of 70 Finals is on the low end of the figure spectrum compared to this field. We're now talking about needing to break through a DTOP that seen a Final Figure jump from 70 to 78. Seems a tall task to not only ask for him to sustain that improvement but also show us some improvement to hit the par 80 mark we're looking for in this big race.

#6 Tiz The Law 1/1

Favorite's only blemish is a loss on an off track last November. Posted a 73/80 victory last out coming off the SOFT pattern which indicates a runner likely had more to give if needed when running that 70/76 two starts back. No other runner has broke an 80 on dirt and Tiz has done it twice. Position-wise, runner usually stalks but may be given a pace advantage in this field. #5 Shivaree 30/1 may be the only one who could naturally challenge early, but that runner has been going a bit out of form lately expending more energy earlier without sustaining it long over the last few starts. Another option for a challenge up front is #3 Uncle Chuck who could show up as the real deal and deny Tiz an opportunity to overtake.

#7 Caracaro 10/1

Similar running line to #2 Country Grammer last out as those two were only separated by a neck. However, this one ran that line for a slight improvement from his 74/74 REV victory when routing in 2nd career start. That Peter Pan Stakes race appears to be more part of Caracaro's development while Country Grammer's Peter Pan figure was earned breaking through a DTOP in peaking form. We don't know yet what Caracaro's peaking form is. In a head-to-head, Caracaro gets the nod to have more upside as well as value than #2 Country Grammer.

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