SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – Sackatoga Stable’s Tiz the Law drew post 6 and was named the even-money favorite on the morning line for Saturday’s $1 million Runhappy Travers Stakes (G1) at Saratoga.
The Travers is a 1 1/4-mile dirt route restricted to 3-year-olds. For the first time, the Travers is a Kentucky Derby (G1) prep race awarding points to the top four finishers on a 100-40-20-10 basis.
Tiz the Law has been at or very near the top of all 3-year-old thoroughbred rankings since the start of the year. He off his sophomore campaign winning the Holy Bull Stakes (G3) in February, then repeated that effort in the Florida Derby (G1) almost two months later. His biggest victory to date came in June’s Belmont Stakes (G1), the first leg of the 2020 Triple Crown.
“I think he’s matured enough now that outside or inside is not going to bother him too much,” said his trainer Barclay Tagg. “I’d prefer that he’s on the outside, just because you have less chance of getting in trouble. Not that you can’t, but you have less chance. I think post 6 is fine. 5 would have been fine. 4 would have been fine. Any of those would have been fine with me.”
The up-and-coming Uncle Chuck is the 5/2 second choice on the morning line and will exit from post 3. Though late to get started, the Uncle Mo colt has been perfect through 2 lifetime starts, beginning with his maiden-breaking debut on June 12 and continuing in the Los Alamitos Derby (G3).
“He’s been training well and I thought he deserves a chance to run in it,” said his trainer Bob Baffert. “He’s only had two races, but they were pretty impressive. The talent is there, he’s just still figuring it out and putting it together. He’s still a little green, but I thought the mile and 1/4 might be good for him. He’s got a big, long stride. He’s got speed, so as long as he gets in a nice, relaxed rhythm we’ll see how he handles the mile and 1/4.”
Max Player, a closing third in the Belmont Stakes, reappears here and will break from post 4 as the 6/1 co-third choice. The Linda Rice trainee has never missed the board in 4 starts and won February’s Withers Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct prior to the Belmont Stakes.
“Coming in from the Belmont, he was coming off a bit of a break, so I trained pretty aggressively,” Rice said. “Coming into this race, I backed off him a little bit and did more maintenance breezes. I wasn’t quite as aggressive with him, but I think he’s ready.”
Country Grammer (6/1) and Caracaro (10/1), the top two finishers in the local Peter Pan Stakes (G3) last month, both return to the Spa for their next starts. Country Grammer’s trainer, Chad Brown, is a perennial threat to win the Saratoga training title. Caracaro makes his second start back after a six-month break and could be expected to improve upon his runner-up effort last time out.
South Bend (15/1) makes his first start from the Hall of Fame barn of Bill Mott after he was privately purchased from his prior connections. The Algorithms colt won his first 3 career starts, including last October’s Street Sense Stakes, but has gone winless in 8 subsequent appearances.
Recent local maiden-breaker First Line (30/1) and multiple stakes winner Shivaree (30/1) complete the lineup.
Here is the full field for the Travers:
|1||First Line||David Cohen||Orlando Noda||30/1|
|2||Country Grammer||Irad Ortiz, Jr.||Chad Brown||6/1|
|3||Uncle Chuck||Luis Saez||Bob Baffert||5/2|
|4||Max Player||Joel Rosario||Linda Rice||6/1|
|5||Shivaree||Junior Alvarado||Ralph Nicks||30/1|
|6||Tiz the Law||Manny Franco||Barclay Tagg||1/1|
|7||Caracaro||Javier Castellano||Gustavo Delgado||10/1|
|8||South Bend||Jose Ortiz||Bill Mott||15/1|