SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The post-position draw for the 153rd running of the Runhappy Travers Stakes transpired at The Adelphi Hotel in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., Tuesday night.
12 horses were originally nominated for the Travers on August 13. The total number of contending horses was whittled down to eight prior to Tuesday’s drawing; below is the full breakdown of the eight-horse field:
- 1. CYBERKNIFE (Morning Line: 7/2) – Trainer: Brad Cox, Jockey: Florent Geroux
- 2. RICH STRIKE (Morning Line: 10/1) – Trainer: Eric Reed, Jockey: Sonny Leon
- 3. AIN’T LIFE GRAND (Morning Line: 20/1) – Trainer: Kelly Von Hemel, Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione
- 4. GILDED AGE (Morning Line: 30/1) – Trainer: Bill Mott, Jockey: Junior Alvarado
- 5. ARTORIOUS (Morning Line: 9/2) – Trainer: Chad Brown, Jockey: Irad Ortiz, Jr.
- 6. EPICENTER (Morning Line: 7/5) – Trainer: Steve Asmussen, Jockey: Joel Rosario
- 7. EARLY VOTING (Morning Line: 8/1) – Trainer: Chad Brown, Jockey: Jose Ortiz
- 8. ZANDON (Morning Line: 5/1) – Trainer: Chad Brown, Jockey, Flavien Prat
Trainer Steve Asmussen’s Epicenter lands as the early favorite at 7-5 odds. After a second-place finish in the Kentucky Derby on May 7, Epicenter bounced back to win the Jim Dandy Stakes earlier in the Saratoga meet.
Asmussen feels confident in his horse heading into Saturday’s race.
“The Travers…with the Winchell’s, we’ve had two thirds, and a second last year,” said Asmussen. “But very different circumstances walking in here with a 7-5 favorite that we think is doing extremely well. And what a golden opportunity it is to…possibly paint the canoe. (We’re) hoping for some good weather, fast race track, and a clean run.”
Rich Strike trainer Eric Reed was very pleased with his Kentucky Derby-winning horse’s inside post position.
“I was hoping for the first time we could get an inside draw, ’cause our work’s always cut out for us the way that he runs,” said Reed. “And…if he’s on the inside, he may want to show a little more speed, ’cause he’s already where he’s comfortable, rather than losing two, or three lengths to get over to the inside and start saving ground. And if we find him anywhere close down the backside, – unless for some reason he doesn’t run every race like he’s run all year but the Belmont – I think he’ll be right right there at the end of this, and this could come down to a length, or two for him.”
Mechanicville, N.Y.-native and trainer Chad Brown enters three horses in the Travers: the five, Artorius, the seven, 2022 Preakness Stakes winner Early Voting, and the eight, Zandon. Artorious, jockeyed by Irad Ortiz, Jr., maintains the best odds currently amongst Brown’s three horses at 9-2.
Brown was not present at the drawing Tuesday. The 153rd running of the Runhappy Travers Stakes is set for Saturday evening; no post time has been listed yet.