Friday, August 26, 2011

Paulie's Picks, The Travers Stakes, 8/27/11

Here in NYC, Mayor Bloomberg is outlining his evacuation plans in case we get really beat up by Hurricane Irene this weekend. But up in Saratoga Springs tomorrow, the forecast is 82 degrees and mostly sunny, a perfect day for the Travers Stakes! My biggest concern for the impending storm is that power and/or cable will be knocked out, preventing me from watching the race, and more importantly, getting my bets in.

The Travers looks competitive this year, and there are some square prices to had in the morning line. I like Coil, who won the Haskell Stakes at Monmouth from off the pace, but can also win on the front end - that kind of versatility is rare. Speed has been playing well at Saratoga this summer, though, and the one pure speed horse is Shackleford (shown above winning the 2011 Preakness). He's opening at a very generous 9-2; I'm assuming that the track handicapper gave him those odds because he's marooned in the outside post, but if Castanon can pilot him over to a nice spot nearer the rail in the early strides, he could run off with this. If he gets bet down to 5-2 or less, I might change my vote, but he's my horse tomorrow. I think Coil will place, and as much as I'd like to round out the Trifecta with a longshot, it's hard to ignore Stay Thirsty's graded stakes resume - he's a narrow favorite, and that's not a bad call (even though I'm not playing him to win). So my trifecta looks like this:

10 - Shackleford
7 - Coil
9 - Stay Thirsty

Also of interest is the return of Uncle Mo in the G1 King's Bishop at 7 furlongs . The colt was the presumed favorite in the 2011 Kentucky Derby, but was sidelined with liver problems after a disappointing third-place finish in the Wood Memorial. The fact that his connections decided to bring him back in this race as opposed to the main attraction seems odd - Uncle Mo is not known as a sprinter and has no graded stakes experience in sprints. I guess they know more about horses than me, but I'm still going to bet the speedy Flashpoint who has a nice spot on the rail and a reasonably generous opening line of 5-2.

Providing I have cable, electricity, and an apartment, I will post results and video tomorrow night.