SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — The Triple Crown race dates have been set. The Belmont Stakes will run June 20. The Kentucky Derby in early September, followed by the Preakness a month later. So where does that leave the unofficial fourth leg of the Triple Crown: the Travers Stakes?
NYRA hasn’t released a stakes schedule yet for the Saratoga meet. Traditionally, the mid-summer derby runs the final Saturday in August. However, if it stays in that same time slot, the same three-year-old horses would not be able to run in both the Travers and the Kentucky Derby a week later. Therefore, trainer Mark Casse believes it’ll be moved up.
“I wouldn’t be surprised to see them run maybe the first week of August because that would be about four or five weeks out from the Kentucky Derby,” explained Casse, who won both the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes in 2019. “Nobody’s told me this, but I’m gonna bet you that’s why the Belmont is where it is because it would set up for a nice Travers.”
He went on to say that if the Travers slides up to early August, the G2 Jim Dandy likely wouldn’t run before as its classic prep race, at least not at its typical distance.