Dating back to 1864, the Travers Stakes is America’s oldest stakes race for Thoroughbreds. The Travers is a Grade 1 race at Saratoga and restricted for 3-year-olds. The 2023 race is the 154th edition and offers a purse of $1,250,000. Nicknamed the Midsummer Derby, the Travers has been contested at the classic 1 1/4 mile distance since 1904.
Travers Day is the most popular day of the Saratoga summer racing meet and is held on the last Saturday of August. This year’s Travers will take place on Saturday, August 26.
Travers Stakes odds and post positions
Travers Stakes odds are now available at FanDuel Racing. The field for the 154th Travers Stakes was announced during Tuesday’s post-position draw. Kentucky Derby winner Mage, Preakness Stakes winner National Treasure, and Belmont Stakes winner Arcangelo are all racing.
|1||Forte||7-5||Irad Ortiz Jr.|
|3||Tapit Trice||12-1||Jose Ortiz|
|5||National Treasure||8-1||John Velazquez|
Travers STAKES HORSES 2023
This is the first time since 2017 that all three Triple Crown race winners are entered. The 2017 Travers featured Always Dreaming (Kentucky Derby) Cloud Computing (Preakness), and Tapwrit (Belmont Stakes). Here is a look at the Travers Stakes field with a list of horses set to run in the 2023 race at Saratoga Race Course. The race has a post time of approximately 6:11 p.m.
1. Forte 7/5
Has he peaked? The 2022 Breeders’ Cup and 2023 Florida Derby winner looks to have leveled off in his last two outings. One resulted in a second-place finish to Arcangelo in the Belmont. The second was a narrow victory in the Jim Dandy, in which he was fortunate not to be disqualified after colliding with Angel of Empire outside of him. The Jim Dandy karma has nonetheless been stellar. Essential Quality and Epicenter parlayed Jim Dandy victories into a Travers triumph in 2021 and 2022, respectively. Always runs hard. Always in it.
2. Arcangelo 5/2
Can lightning strike twice? Trainer Jena Antonucci became a YouTube sensation with video detailing her passionate celebration of Arcangelo’s stretch run and victory in the Belmont. Antonucci became the first female to train a Triple Crown winner. This is Arcangelo’s first matchup since then. He opened eyes in the horse-racing world not only with a sharp rail trip, but by parlaying a victory in the Peter Pan Stakes into a Belmont triumph. That race was 1 1-2 miles. This one is shorter. Backers expect a stalking, opportunistic trip.
3. Tapit Trice 12/1
Starting to look like his victory at the Blue Grass Stakes in April could be the best that he does. Came up third, just behind Forte, in the Belmont Stakes. Faded to fifth in the Haskell and wasn’t in it. The longer the race, the better for him, however. Gets a full 1 1-4 miles to work with here. Often starts near the back of the pack. Would be a threat if in position entering the final turn.
4. Mage 4/1
Was the rage in horse racing by winning the Kentucky Derby with a nice closing effort. Absence of speed and perhaps a race just two weeks later resulted in a third-place effort at the Preakness. Nearly got there but came up just short against Geaux Rocket Ride, notching a strong second in the Haskell Stakes. Connections noted afterward that their horse was one workout short of being in prime shape. That won’t be the case here. Not only is Mage in full swing but he returns to the distance at which he won the Kentucky Derby.
5. National Treasure 8/1
Frontrunner who captured the Preakness and led the Belmont Stakes for about a mile and a quarter before fading to sixth. May have to contend with some better speed with Scotland, but gets a break in this race. Reincarnate, another speedball, was expected to run in the Travers. But Bob Baffert, who trains National Treasure and Reincarnate, made a calculated move eight days before the Travers.
Baffert will save Reincarnate for the Pennsylvania Derby Sept. 23 at Parx. This makes sense if for no other reason than to eliminate the pace war that could develop, perhaps compromising both of Baffert’s horses from the Travers. He hedged his bets by splitting them into two separate races. National Treasure returns to a distance he may be comfortable at.
6. Disarm 8/1
Gets another try at winning a big race. Has been in the bottom of the superfectas or just behind the leaders all year. Disappointing fourth in the Jim Dandy, although the short field worked against the deep-closing style he favors. May have some more speed to run at here.
7. Scotland 12/1
Won the $135,000 Curlin Stakes over this track. A significant theme this year is horses making major improvements off seemingly-minor races. That happened with Arcangelo leaping from the Peter Pan into the Belmont winners circle and Randomized graduating a four-horse field in the $135,000 Wilton Stakes to capture the $600,000 Alabama. Figures to be forwardly placed. Won the Curlin despite being dogged by Il Miracolo. Managed to bury 3-5 favorite Blazing Sevens, who had finished second in the Preakness.
Whose turn is it to sit atop the 3-year-old circuit?
FanDuel Racing Bettors can preview track conditions and pace variables that could impact the big race by playing an undercard so loaded it resembles a miniature Breeders Cup.
The supporting cast includes:
- $750,000 Sword Dancer
- $600,000 Personal Ensign
- $600,000 Forego
- $500,000 Allen Jerkens Memorial
- $400,000 Ballston Spa
Travers Stakes schedule and race details
The 154th running of the Travers Stakes will be broadcast on FOX with coverage from 5:00-6:30 p.m. ET. Also, FS2 carries earlier race coverage along with all of Saturday’s races on FanDuel Racing as part of its comprehensive daily racing coverage.
- Date: Saturday, August 26, 2023
- Time: 6:11 p.m. ET
- TV: FOX 5-6:30 p.m. ET
- Track & Location: Saratoga Race Course, Saratoga Springs, New York
- Distance: 1 1/4 miles (10 furlongs)
- Surface: Dirt
- Horses: 3-year-old thoroughbreds by invitation only
- Track Record: Arrogate won the 2016 Travers in a record time of 1:59.36
- Largest Margin of Victory: Arrogate (13 lengths)
A gold-plated replica of the Travers Trophy, known as the Man O’War Cup, is presented to the winner, along with the locally hand-made floral blanket with thousands of carnations draped over the horse in the winners circle.
You can also wager on horse racing legally across the US at racetracks and simulcast centers such as Off Track Betting (OTB) Centers.
Travers Stakes betting guide and field
As handicappers and bettors try to identify a value horse or two that could pull the upset in this year’s Travers, review races of 1 1/4 miles like the Kentucky Derby, and other races at least 1 1/8 miles while evaluating current form. There are annually improving and maturing 3-year-olds at this time of year who can break onto the scene like the great Arrogate did in winning the 2016 Travers – his first stakes race and record time.
Travers Stakes winners and history
The Travers Stakes has produced some notable champions during its storied history. The 2016 winner Arrogate was a relative unknown until he delivered a breath-taking 13-length victory in a Travers-record time of 1:59.23. That victory was Arrogate’s stakes debut, and the late-bloomer went on to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic, the Pegasus World Cup, and the Dubai World Cup in his next three starts to become North America’s all-time money winner.
Historic Saratoga Race Course has produced many legends of racing with Travers winners becoming champion 3-year-old and/or Horse of the Year winners. The Man o’ War Cup, awarded to the Travers winner, is named in honor of the 1920 winner Man ‘o War, whose victory was one of his 20 wins in 21 career starts.
The most recent two decades has produced some of racing’s stars, among its many memorable moments. Winners include Bernardini (2006), Street Sense (2007), Summer Bird (2009), Stay Thirsty (2011), Will Take Charge (2013), Arrogate (2016) and Keen Ice (2015), who upset Triple Crown winner American Pharoah. In last year’s 2020 Travers, Tiz the Law won after capturing the Belmont Stakes and then finishing 2nd in the October Kentucky Derby in an unusual year of racing due to the pandemic and COVID-19 health crisis.
Alpha and Golden Ticket (2012) completed the first dead heat winner in Travers history that never went to a race-off.
|2020||Tiz the Law||1-2||$3.00||02:00.9||Pace Pressing|
|2019||Code of Honor||4-1||$10.80||02:01.1||Closer, back|
|2015||Keen Ice||16-1||$34.00||02:02.6||Mid-pack, off pace|
|2014||V.E. Day||19-1||$41.00||02:03.0||Closer, back|
|2013||Will Take Charge||9-1||$21.00||02:02.7||Mid-pack, off pace|
|2012||Alpha/Golden Ticket dead heat)||2-1/33-1||$4.10/$28.80||02:02.7||Stalking (both)|
|2010||Afleet Express||7-1||$16.00||02:03.3||Mid-pack, off pace|
Past Travers noted champions that paved the way for the modern race winners include: Triple Crown winner Whirlaway (1941), Sword Dancer (1953) and Ruthless (1867), who went on to become the first of seven fillies to win the Travers.
In the past 40 years, other notable and significant wins include: Alydar (1978) who won after rival Affirmed was disqualified, previous record holder General Assembly (1979), Java Gold (1987), Easy Goer (1989), Holy Bull (1994), Thunder Gulch (1995), Lemon Drop Kid (1999), Point Given (2001), Medaglia ‘d Oro (2002), Birdstone (2004), and those above in the last decade.
Some racing greats both running and riding have won and lost some of the tightest finishes, as 10 Travers Stakes have been decided by a nose, including two in the past decade, V.E. Day (2014) and Afleet Express (2010).
Jockey Javier Castellano has recorded a record six Travers wins over the last decade, guiding Bernardini (2006), Afleet Express (2010), Stay Thirsty (2011), V. E. Day (2014), Keen Ice (2015) and Catholic Boy (2018) to victory.
The most shocking result in Travers history occurred in 1930 when Triple Crown winner Gallant Fox lost to 100-1 longshot Jim Dandy, who is now honored with a stakes race that serves as Saratoga’s leading Travers prep.
How to bet the Travers Stakes
The Travers will be part of a special NYRA Bets Late Pick 5 which will feature a minimum single-ticket payout of $1 million. The $1 million single ticket payout bonus is available only to NYRA Bets customers online, on track, and at New York State simulcasting facilities.
Travers Day will also feature an all-stakes Pick 4 guaranteed at $1 million. There are five Grade 1 races on 2023 Travers Stakes Day.
In addition to the traditional “straight” wagers (Win, Place, Show), fans can also attempt to cash big in the various “exotic” pools. Exacta (first two), Trifecta (first three) and Superfecta (first four) wagering are all offered, and cashing a ticket in any of these pools can produce a bigger payday.
- Win: Bet on the horse you think you will win the Travers Stakes.
- Place: Get paid the place price if your horse finishes first or second.
- Show: A show bet pays the least, but you win and get paid the show price if your horse finishes first, second or third.
- Exacta: Predict the first two horses in the correct order.
- Trifecta: Predict the first three horses in the correct order.
- Superfecta: Predict the first four horses in the correct order.
The Travers Stakes betting odds are finally determined by the pari-mutuel system at the track which means your potential payout depends on how much money is in the pool overall, divided by how many bets are placed. The odds will fluctuate in the build-up to the race and never more so than in the final few moments before post time.
Travers Stakes FAQ
When is the 2023 Travers Stakes?
The 154th running of the Travers Stakes will take place on Saturday, Aug. 26, 2023.
How many horses run in the Travers?
The field is limited to a maximum of 14 horses and the 2023 field have seven runners.
What is the Travers Stakes purse?
The 2023 Travers Stakes purse is $1.25 million, which has been the purse every year since 2014 except in 2020 when it was reduced to $1 million.
How much does the winner of the Travers get?
The winner of the Travers receives $670,000, runner-up $230,000, third place $125,000 and the top eight places are paid.
What kind of race is the Travers Stakes?
The Travers is a Grade 1 stakes race and is restricted to 3-year-old Thoroughbreds.
When is post time for the Travers Stakes?
Post time is approx. 6:15 p.m. ET on Saturday, Aug. 26, 2023.
How much are Travers Stakes tickets?
General admission or Grandstand tickets for 2022 Travers are $10 in advance, $15 day-of. Clubhouse admission is $25.
What is the record handle for Travers Day?
In 2018, Travers Day surpassed $50 million in all-sources handle for the first time with $52.08 million. The 2019 handle broke the record with $52.1 million.
Who was the fastest horse to win the Travers Stakes?
Arrogate (2016) raced home a 13-length winner in 1:59.36; breaking General Assembly’s 1979 record of 2:00 flat.