The 2016 campaign has been a ridiculously profitable one for Exaggerator and his connections. Already at 6-3-1 in thirteen starts, this year’s Preakness champion has raked in well over $3.5 million. He could definitely add to his earnings, as well as his decorated trophy case, by cashing in at the Travers Stakes.
Heading in to the Triple Crown season, Exaggerator was a bit on the outside but began to gain steam closer to the spring. he demolished the Santa Anita Derby to become the second favorite in the Kentucky Derby and fell just short of upsetting Nyquist at the wire. He would go on to win the Preakness before finishing a strangely disappointing 11th at the Belmont Stakes. Many doubted that he would become the impact player that he is known as now, and a rebound effort at the Haskell Invitational re-affirmed his stock and talent.
Now Exaggerator is pointed towards this weekend’s Travers Stakes where he will battle a full field of fourteen other competitors. Already the 3/1 favorite, there is a lot of competition that is being very awkwardly valued by the oddsmakers. Even with so much racing done this year, Exaggerator’s expectations and workload have been expertly managed by Keith Desormeaux. It’s albeit impossible to assume that he’ll finish anywhere out of the top-three. There’s simply too much fight in this horse.
The main challenge to his crown, at least on the betting board at the Travers, is a horse named Connect who won the Curlin. Coincidentally, the namesake of that horse is also his father as well as the father of Exaggerator. At 3-0-1, the Chad Brown trainee remains an intriguing take and one that should find his way in to the mix one way or another.
Gift Box finds himself with 12/1 odds heading in to the Travers Stakes but has managed to hit the podium in all six of his races. With odds like that, he’s undeniably attractive and his results could very well justify padding a box bet with him included.
There’s also a buffet of very familiar faces in this race thanks to the publicity of the Triple Crown itself. Laoban is 15/1 after winning the Jim Dandy, while Belmont Stakes champion Creator and Gun Runner share those same odds. Governor Malibu, who was a new shooter in the Belmont and runner-up at the Jim Dandy, comes in at 10/1, odds he currently holds alongside Destin.
The rest of the field is a real dart board, but the one horse that many players are finding it nearly impossible to ignore is American Freedom because of his rousing performance at the Haskell Invitational where he came second to Exaggerator. As the third choice at the Travers with 6/1 odds, there’s a lot of upset potential here. If you’re looking for a savvy stand alone bet, then this is probably the best choice overall.
In no particular order, my favorite horses in this race remain Exaggerator, American Freedom and Gift Box. I’m willing to let Connect prove me wrong as there’s just not enough information on him to really take a swing considering how strong the remainder of the Travers Stakes field actually is. How you bet your money is up to yo, but some combination of those three is my preference.
Travers Stakes – Saratoga Racecourse on Saturday, August 27th (5:44pm EST)
1 1/4 Miles — 3 Year Olds — $1.25 Million
|1||Arrogate||Mike Smith||Bob Baffert||10/1|
|2||American Freedom||Rafael Bejarano||Bob Baffert||6/1|
|3||My Man Sam||Manuel Franco||Chad Brown||50/1|
|4||Governor Malibu||Joel Rosario||Chris Clement||10/1|
|5||Forever d’Oro||Luis Saez||Dale Stewart||30/1|
|6||Anaximandros||Leonel Reyes||Mikhail Yanakov||50/1|
|7||Exaggerator||Kent Desormeaux||Keith Desormeaux||3/1|
|8||Destin||Javie Catellano||Todd Pletcher||10/1|
|9||Gift Box||Junior Alvaredo||Chad Brown||12/1|
|10||Connect||John Velasquez||Chad Brown||4/1|
|11||Majesto||Gustavo Delgado||Ricardo Santana||20/1|
|12||Creator||Irad Ortiz||Steve Asmussen||15/1|
|13||Laoban||Jose Ortiz||Eric Guillot||15/1|
|14||Gun Runner||Florent Geroux||Steve Asmussen||15/1|