The $1.25 Million Travers Headlines Saratoga’s Biggest Day of Racing

Posted By Fairway Jay on August 24, 2021 - Last Updated on August 25, 2021

The biggest days at the races are the weekends, where the top tracks in America host the biggest stakes races. Saratoga Race Course will be the place to be and watch and wager for Runhappy Travers Day on Saturday, Aug. 28.

The $1.25 million Travers Stakes, the Midsummer Derby, headlines a stacked lineup of popular graded stakes races at Saratoga.

  • Race 12: Travers Stakes (G1) $1,250,000 — 152nd running for 3-year-olds at 1 1/4 miles
  • Race 11: Sword Dancer (G1) $1,000,000 – 1 1/2 miles on turf
  • Race 10: Personal Ensign (G1) $700,000 – 1 1/8 miles
  • Race 9: H. Allen Jerkens Memorial (G1) $500,000 – 7 furlongs
  • Race 8: Forego (G1) $600,000 – 7 furlongs
  • Race 7: Ketel One Ballerina (G1) $500,000 – 7 furlongs
  • Race 4: Woodford Reserve Ballston Spa (G2) $400,000 – 1 1/16 miles on turf


Here’s some horse racing data and insight on each race as you consider your win, place, show and exotic bets.


Race 12 on Saturday, Aug. 28 is the Travers Stakes at 6:12 p.m. ET from Saratoga.

The morning line favorite in the 1 1/4 mile Travers is Essential Quality, who has won 7-of-8 starts including the Belmont Stakes in June and the Travers prep race Jim Dandy Stakes in July.

1 – Midnight Bourbon (9/2)

  • Jockey: Ricardo Santana, Jr.
  • Trainer: Steve Asmussen

2 – Essential Quality (4/5)

  • Jockey: Luis Saez
  • Trainer: Brad Cox

3 – Keepmeinmind (6/1)

  • Jockey: Joel Rosario
  • Trainer: Robertino Diodoro

4 – Dynamic One (6/1)

  • Jockey: Irad Ortiz, Jr.
  • Trainer: Todd Pletcher

5 – Miles D (12/1)

  • Jockey: Flavien Prat
  • Trainer: Chad Brown

6– Masqueparade (8/1)

  • Jockey: Miguel Mena
  • Trainer: Al Stall, Jr.

7 – King Fury (15/1)

  • Jockey: Jose Ortiz
  • Trainer: Kenny McPeak

Only three of the last eight post-time race favorites in the Travers have finished in-the-money (top 3). But one of those was the 2020 Travers winner Tiz the Law, who rolled to a 5 1/2-length win as the 1/2 favorite.

A handicapping angle using speed ratings from Equibase (ESF) shows that 11 of the last 12 Travers winners recorded a speed figure of 105 or more in the race prior to the Travers. Only two runners achieved that – Essential Quality and Keepmeinmind when they finished 1st and 2nd in the Jim Dandy. Masqueparade had a 103 ESF when finishing 3rd in the Jim Dandy, but at least 105 in his two previous races and wins. Strong training Dynamic One won the minor Curlin Stakes with a 102 speed figure last month off a 3-month layoff.


While the Travers is the featured race on the special Saratoga card, there are three “Win and You’re In” Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series races that will award the winner an automatic, fees-paid entry to the Breeders’ Cup World Championships Nov. 5-6 at Del Mar.

  • The Personal Ensign at 1 1/8 miles is for older fillies and mares and awards the winner an entry to the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff.
  • The Ballerina at 7 furlongs is for fillies and mares and awards the winner an entry to the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint
  • The Sword Dancer at 1 1/2 miles on the turf awards the winner an entry to the $4 million Breeders’ Cup Turf.

How to bet on horse races

Tune in on TVG, where legal horse betting is available in more than 30 states. Leading online operators like TVG and Twinspires provide added bonuses when using the promo code LSRTVG, or $100 when registering at Twinspires.

Photo credit: Rob Simmons/Eclipse Sportswire/CSM

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Fairway Jay

FairwayJay is a leading national sports and betting analyst and provides insight and information you can bet on to engage and assist the avid fan. His tee-to-green coverage and racing contributions have been provided to Churchill Downs, Twinspires, TVG, Forbes, TheLines, numberFire and PlayUSA platforms. Follow on Twitter: @FairwayJay

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