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Handicapping - Pedigree - History - Dosage

2023 Travers Analysis - Part Two


Arcangelo excited for his upcoming race.


THE TRAVERS STAKES, 10f Saratoga

This analysis may not be copied or paraphrased, in part or in full, without permission. LDM 8/24/23 12:45pm

 

POST 5 - NATIONAL TREASURE

Bob Baffert - John Velazquez 8 to 1

DP = 4-4-7-1-0 (16) DI = 2.56 CD = 0.69 ANZ = 2.56

Mare Profile = 8-7-3-3-9 Speed = 15 Stamina = 12 Index = 1.08 Triads = 18-13-15


The stats associated with this guy's trainer are pretty impressive. Baffert is sitting with the best percentages of the bunch:

+2023 200 29% 63% -0.24

+46-90 days Away 222 30% 63% -0.23

+Blinkers off 63 37% 76% -0.20

+Graded Stakes 363 30% 62% -0.16


Based on those stats, National Treasure has an exceptionally good shot at 2nd place and based on his positioning in the Belmont Stakes, it may not be too far fetched. Blinkers off as well. Even though the horse lost steam substantially in the late stages of the 12f contest, he still sat in the top position at 10f in 2:03.3 and remained in 2nd position at the top of the stretch. This does not mean the dynamics would be the same at 10f, but it does illustrate a horse who had the means of retaining energy after early calls of 117 and 127. That is also very impressive. Based on the final tote board at Belmont, heavy speed bias allowed for additional lengths throughout and Saratoga appears aligned with that bias.


Since the key to this race sits squarely on NT's shoulders (and quite possibly Scotland's as well) the Preakness win subtly tells the story. He ran 23.95 48.92 1:13.49 - the normal playbook of grabbing the lead and slowing it down. He had Coffeewithchris slightly pressing him but that did nothing to push NT off his game, and Coffee began to retreat between the 1/2 and 3/4 anyway. With NT's first 2 calls at 84 and 87, he was given a win on a silver platter in that race. He was able to breathe the second he escaped the gate and all the way through, reserving every ounce of energy for the final call. When pushed to run like a speed demon in the 12f Belmont, his energy, of course, faltered. Extra distance travelling much faster will take its toll at the top of the stretch.


To be successful in the Travers, National Treasure would need to roll off moderate early calls like he did in the Preakness. If he commands a slower and rational pace, his call figures will flip and he is more than capable of distributing his energy properly. He accomplished that in the Santa Anita Derby and the Juvenile, even though he did not connect for the wins. He still paced his energy very well, he ran evenly.


Even though his mares line is abysmal for the 10f, we are not handicapping the Kentucky Derby with a field of 19 other top 3 year olds. NT enters the gate with a group of only 5 talented rear runners and only 1 who may possibly intervene up front. If Scotland lays off, National Treasure has the means through his chefs to take this race gate to wire. Based on his performances on five separate tracks with 4 different biases, with advancement as the distances went further, he is showing allegiance to both sides of his scale, with gravitation to his chefs. It is his chefs which give him an advantage in the Travers. It is Scotland who holds the keys to National Treasure's fate.


At M/L odds of 8 to 1 and a 50% chance that Scotland flies with him, two pace scenarios are absolutely up for grabs with a chance to actually make some profit off of this race. NT is left alone to control a moderate pace, he has a major shot of hitting first or second. Scotland pushes early and the effect on NT is grim.


Two pace scenarios, two separate super tickets. With only 7 contenders, it is cheap enough to go for it. In reality though, the evidence is showing a scenario of a speed duel between the two up front. This will enhance the rest of the field, especially those who sit closer to it.


POST 7 - SCOTLAND

Bill Mott - Junior Alavarado 12 to 1

DP = 3-6-8-1-0 (18) DI = 2.60 CD = 0.61 ANZ = 3.00

Mare Profile = 10-4-2-7-6 Speed = 14 Stamina = 13 Index = 1.24 Triads = 16-13-15 (Good Magic)


I'm seeing red flags all over this guy. These flags have a very strong probability of affecting National Treasure, which could result in a ripple affect through the entire race. Remember Ain't Life Grand from last year? Posted an outrageously fast workout prior to the race, which gave the big clue as to how he would react once that gate was released. Scotland, the same.


On Aug 20th at Saratoga, Scotland posted a bullet workout among 69 in 47.3. In the 9f Curlin Stakes, he posted 94/104 on the lead to win that race. National Treasure's comp in the Preakness was substantially slower. 84/87 which led to his win. Both have strong energy distribution but both lack with their mare's line. That workout, along with the gate to wire win in his last, shows that Bill Mott has no desire to see Baffert have his way on that lead with the normal slow control of the field. Both of these horses have hefty mare speed dominance in the Brilliant and Intermediate slots in their profiles. Both very successful on the lead. Now at 10f, the subpar mare's side for both colts will come into play. Loss of late energy for both with the class of National Treasure holding a bit longer.


POST 6 - DISARM

Asmussen - Rosario 8 to 1

DP = 1-4-7-0-0 (12) DI = 2.43 CD = 0.50 ANZ = 3.00

Mares = 7-3-5-9-6 Speed = 10 Stamina = 15 Index = 0.85 Triads = 15-17-20 (2nd gen Tapit)


It will be extremely difficult to beat the well-deserving favorite Forte, but at M/L odds at 7/5, I don't see how anyone couldn't give it a shot. Between National Treasure, Scotland, Tapit Trice and Disarm sitting with the best gambling odds on this short field, it would be Disarm for me if I was so inclined to spend a bit more with the bigger gamble.


There are alot of positives here and the main giveaway is his perfect breeding for the Travers along with his imperfect breeding with his stellar performances in his last two races. Both on a sloppy surface, which on all fronts is difficult with his set-ups. He is built much better for a clean 10f and he has displayed the ability to progress in his speed.


Just like with most Candy Ride offspring, who burst out of the shell after the Triple Crown, one needs only to refer to Geaux Rocket Ride in the Haskell and even Il Miracolo in the Smarty Jones to see the recent successes at this time of year. Even with his 4th place on the adverse bias against Forte at 9f in the Jim Dandy, Disarm produces figures of 96/103/101 with a final in 104. He won his previous at 9f on the sloppy bias as well, with equally impressive figures. That bias goes against his breeding.


Prior to the sloppy successful performances, he has always upgraded his position regardless of pace. Now at 10f, which is more conducive to his breeding and with adding blinkers as well, this horse may be primed for a break-out. Things appear to be aligning here. If Disarm is ready to show off that Candy Ride influence, now is the opportune time. He is built correctly for this race, he is on the upswing, he has performed better than Tapit Trice against adversity and his odds will be very pretty against this group. I'll give him respect on my super based on Scotland's probability of messing with National Treasure.


In 2016, as fate would have it, Arrogate won the Travers stakes and Gun Runner stayed on to take 3rd place. Could we have a repeat with their sons - Arcangelo and Disarm?


POST 2 - ARCANGELO

Antonucci - Castellano 2.5 to 1

DP = 3-16-5-0-0 (24) DI = 8.60 CD = 0.92 ANZ = 10.20

Mare Profile = 6-7-4-9-5 Speed = 13 Stamina = 14 Index = 1.00 Triads = 17-20-18 (2nd gen Tapit)


We are either going to see a blow out performance from this guy or we will see the second coming of Artorius from last year's Travers. The major difference between Arrogate's son last year with Artorius and this year with Arcangelo is the presence of Tapit. That right there is the key. If this were the Kentucky Derby with those configurations on that bias, he would have been joined at the hip with Angel of Empire and Two Phil's for me, so with only a group of 7, profit demands the single.


This guy was extremely disadvantaged at 12f in the Belmont and prevailed. He will run faster at 10f on a conducive bias. There is no doubt that Forte and Mage have superior resumes along with class, but you can't bet them all on top in a 7 horse gate. The three low tagged favorites in this group have the tenacity to win at Saratoga and there is no right or wrong answer between the three. With the inbred over the top speed that Arcangelo is holding above Forte and Mage, along with the endurance to roll at 10f, the buck stops here for me.


POST 3 - TAPIT TRICE

Pletcher - J. Ortiz 12 to 1

DP = 5-15-11-1-0 (32) DI = 3.92 CD = 0.75 ANZ = 3.92

Mare Profile = 10-6-1-7-7 Speed = 16 Stamina = 14 Index = 1.23 Triads = 17-14-15 (1st Gen Tapit)


His breeding is much more conducive for the Travers than the Kentucky Derby, but the fact remains, he has been on the decline. With a 3.92 index, where his speed should have highlighted his races after the Bluegrass, it was missing. With his Tapit credentials for the Belmont Stakes along with ample inbred speed to compete for the win on a slick fast bias, he fell short.


Tapit Trice and Disarm enter the gate pitted against each other. I see Disarm with a greater chance at the tote board based on progression and alignment with bias and pace projection. If Tapit Trice finally figures out what he has inbred in him prior to August 26th, then I'll rip up my tickets and move on.


POST 1 - FORTE

Pletcher - I. Ortiz 7 to 5

DP = 4-4-5-1-0 (14) DI = 3.00 CD = 0.79 ANZ = 4.71

Mare Profile = 11-2-5-1-11 Speed = 13 Stamina = 12 Index = 1.04 Triads = 18-8-17


The Jim Dandy performance at 9f on the sloppy bias confirms allegiance to his high speed capability. His incredible performance in the 12f Belmont goes against the split in this mare's profile with that 4.71 ANZ number. There is a strong probability that the mares residing within the 11 in the Professional slot have completely overtaken the mares that reside in the 11 of the Brilliant slot. Rare occurrence, for sure, which also could point to a horse with impeccable will and determination.


Face value, these are Pennsylvania Derby numbers, not Travers numbers. So we keep going back to the Belmont, which produced the top two with the "worst sets" of Belmont numbers in recent history, barring American Pharoah.


So what to make of it? A slick speed bias at Belmont Park which is mimicking Saratoga recently. Scotland's presence with National Treasure up front will surely enhance Forte. Without Scotland, he will have a harder time. With Forte's classy performances, it is extremely difficult to bet against a win but at M/L odds of 7 to 5, I'll hand my fate over to Bill Mott, with hopes that he is wise enough to keep Scotland in check in the early stages. This race is so tight with talent that there is no right or wrong, it is simply a matter of early pace and the strategies of the trainers. The very best of the field has two vulnerabilities. Moderate pace and adverse breeding for the race at hand. Profitability with the gamble is taking those two points to heart.


POST 4 - MAGE

Delgado - Prat 4 to 1

DP = 2-4-8-0-0 (14) DI = 2.50 CD = 0.57 ANZ = 2.50

Mare Profile = 7-8-2-9-8 Speed = 15 Stamina = 17 Index = 0.89 Triads = 17-19-19 (Good Magic)


Again, depending on Bill Mott's strategy with Scotland will determine the advantage or disadvantage with this pace dependent colt. Disarm is not pace dependent, he is a more even runner. Between the two of them as potential board-hitters in this contest, both have equally impressive breeding for the task. Mage is classier and has the Derby notch on his belt. But he was a product of extreme pace and perfect position at that 10f task. He will need the same here. Disarm may be coming into his own at the right time and does not need extreme pace to perform.


Mage and Disarm are walking into this race hand in hand, with pros and cons against the same field on a fairly level scale. Mage is built better for the Travers than Forte but Disarm is also very well equipped. Arcangelo is in his own stratosphere as well.

 

This year's Travers is undoubtedly the hardest handicapping race so far this season. This is a strong group of Triple Crown race winners and Stakes winners who have all shown high promise on one stage or the other. I do not see one colt walking into this race with any strong advantage over the other. It boils down to National Treasure if alone to control a moderate pace or if Scotland gets involved. That's it. That Mott strategy will remain unknown until that bell goes off.


Two different pace scenarios, two different outcomes. It is as simple as that. Do you pick the colts who can cover both sides or do you construct two tickets for the two scenarios. With such low odds on the 3 well-deserving colts, it is hard to justify going berserk with this race. The only hope is that a longer shot can break through. The bet has to be kept at the bare minimum while covering yourself for the eventual pace and giving yourself at least a shot of profit.


I see no right or wrong for the single on top and will opt for Arcangelo's ability within his breeding to capitalize off of any pace scenario. I will add in Disarm for profit as a long shot based on his even energy distribution. Can't load up with three in the 2nd spot because of odds. Opted for Mage based on breeding for the race. Grappled between National Treasure and Scotland with ability to hold for a piece. While both can easily hold, I went with class and Baffert's stats.


No matter how you configure your tickets, none would be wrong depending on that pace projection. It's 50/50 with Mott's strategy.


$8.00 for every 1.00 super ticket

1st - Arcangelo

2nd - Disarm - Mage

3rd - Disarm - Mage - Forte

4th - Disarm - Mage - Forte - National Treasure

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