The Mid-Summer Derby has been run at Saratoga since 1864 and the 2017 version is very deep and contentious. A field of 12 goes postward this afternoon and for the first time since 1982, the Travers features the three different winners of the Triple Crown races.
We’ll go through the field one at a time, and then come back with a few other Travers Day spot plays.
#1 Cloud Coumputing (8-1) – He’s only won twice but has been impressive both times, including running down Classic Empire to win the Preakness and especially when embroiled in the fast-pace in the Gotham. Plus, he was compromised by a slow break and a speed-favoring track in the Wood. Last time, he was pressing Always Dreaming off of a gold rail in a pace that was pretty solid. He’s drawn well here and is the horse we want to bet.
#2 Giuseppe The Great (20-1) – He’s been steadily improving for Nick Zito and ran ok in the Jim Dandy, though he did spend most of the race on the good inside. His Dwyer was decent, and he has the look of a big-price horse that could spice up trifectas. Distance is the question, but he’ll be a huge price.
#3 West Coast (4-1) – Bob Baffert sends in this horse who capitalized on a very fast pace to win the Easy Goer. He then overwhelmed a weak field in the Los Alamitos Derby. He is one of the short-priced horses we’re skeptical of in here. He might be hurt by a potentially slow pace and his two big wins were in a weak field and by benefiting from a very fast pace. Plus, he’ll be a short price.
#4 Tapwrit (7-2) – He’s another short-priced horse that we’ll let beat us. The one race he he’s run good enough to win this race is the Belmont. That was was at a mile-and-a-half race, and Irish War Cry, runner-up that day, came back to run poorly in the Haskell. Plus, Tapwrit had a perfect trip in there too.
#5 Good Samaritan (5-1) – He certainly took to dirt last time in blowing away the field to win the Jim Dandy. He did spend a good chunk of that race on the good inside, but he ran a big race and should benefit from stretching out to 10 furlongs. The pace won’t suit him, and he won’t be that big of a price, but he can win. We’ll use him underneath.
#6 Girvin (10-1) – We were a little skeptical of him coming into the summer, though he did run well to just miss in the Ohio Derby and his Haskell was fine, though he was aided by a pretty strong pace. He did show some speed in the Ohio Derby but probably should have won there. We could use underneath but not any higher than that.
#7 Always Dreaming (6-1) – Here is another short-priced runner that we do not want. We were not sold on him going into the Kentucky Derby after his perfect trip, slow-paced win in the Florida Derby. Then in Kentucky, he was on the good rail and his two subsequent races have been terrible. Granted, the pace was solid last time, but he was on the strongest gold rail of the Saratoga meet. He beats us.
#8 Lookin at Lee (30-1) – He’s just never run a race that is good enough to win this one and his Kentucky Derby was flattered by being on the good inside. Plus, there’s probably not enough pace.
#9 McCraken (12-1) – Maybe he made an early move in the Haskell but ultimately that was a pretty solid pace and he just didn’t finish strong. He too is yet to run a race fast enough to win this and he gives the impression that he wants less ground, not more.
#10 Irap (8-1) – I would hope that they they keep him closer to the pace today and he could get a good trip pressing Always Dreaming. He’ll have to put that one away and hold off the late-runners, but Irap has been running better in the summer and the horse he beat in the Indiana Derby (by five lengths) came back to win the West Virginia Derby with a 95 Beyer.
#11 Gunnevera (20-1) – He ran pretty well last summer and into the early part of the year, but since the Florida Derby, when the racing got very tough, he has been noncompetitive. Plus, there won’t be a ton of pace for him to attack in this race.
#12 Fayeq (30-1) – This half to Rachel Alexandra has been improving since stretching out, as you would expect, for Kiaran McLaughin. He won an allowance race last time with a perfect trip behind dueling leaders and he’ll have to run faster. We could use underneath in trifectas, but it’s hard to make him winning.
Analysis – We’re betting Cloud Computing to win this race and the two horses we’ll key around in exactas and trifectas are Cloud Computing and Irap. Our longshot use underneath is Giuseppe the Great but we’ll also use Good Samaritan and a little West Coast too.
$1 – 1 / 2, 5, 10 / 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 10, 12 ($18)
50 c – 10 / 1, 2, 5 / 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 10, 12 ($9)
50 c – 2, 5 / 1 / 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 10, 12 ($6)