08/19/2014 7:42PM

Travers: Wicked Strong draws outside Bayern, Tonalist

Barbara D. Livingston
Wicked Strong, shown training at Saratoga on Aug. 8, is the 7-2 third choice on the morning line for the Travers Stakes.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – A big smile came over the face of jockey Rajiv Maragh when his mount, Wicked Strong, drew post 7 in a field of 10 for Saturday’s Grade 1, $1.25 million Travers Stakes at Saratoga, positioning him outside his two main rivals, Bayern in post 2 and Tonalist in post 6.

“I think that’s very ideal to be drawn outside of Bayern and Tonalist as opposed to being inside,” Maragh said. “I think we’re very fortunate with the way the posts are drawn. It gives me many options.”

Bayern, the Haskell Invitational winner, figures to be on the early pace in the Travers. Tonalist, the Belmont Stakes winner, has shown the ability to be effective from on or off the lead.

Despite his victory in the Jim Dandy Stakes, Wicked Strong was made the 7-2 third choice on the morning line of the New York Racing Association’s Eric Donovan, behind Bayern (2-1) and Tonalist (3-1). Post positions for the Mid-Summer Derby were drawn Tuesday night at a downtown Saratoga Springs, N.Y., restaurant, Druthers.

The field, from the rail out, is: Commanding Curve (jockey Shaun Bridgmohan, 15-1), Bayern (Martin Garica, 2-1), Charge Now (Junior Alvarado, 15-1), V. E. Day (Javier Castellano, 15-1), Viva Majorca (Julien Leparoux, 20-1), Tonalist (Joel Rosario, 3-1), Wicked Strong (Maragh, 7-2), Kid Cruz (Irad Ortiz Jr., 12-1), Ulanbator (Brian Hernandez, 30-1), and Mr Speaker (Jose Lezcano, 10-1).

C J’s Awesome, initially expected to enter, was withdrawn from consideration Tuesday by trainer Ken McPeek.

Wicked Strong, fourth in the Kentucky Derby and a dead-heat fourth with Derby and Preakness winner California Chrome in the Belmont Stakes, was equipped with blinkers for the Jim Dandy by trainer Jimmy Jerkens. While they put Wicked Strong right into the race, they also kept him more focused, according to Maragh.

“He wasn’t necessarily headstrong; he just kind of put it all together. He was focused. He was only thinking about running; he wasn’t uncontrollable by any means,” Maragh said. “He showed good energy and kept straight and kept to his business, which is what we were hoping the blinkers would do for him.”

Jerkens will be seeking his second Travers victory with Wicked Strong or the late-running V. E. Day, the winner of the Curlin Stakes. V. E. Day will be ridden by Castellano, who was aboard Afleet Express when he won the 2010 Travers for Jerkens.

Castellano, the leading rider at the Saratoga meet, was able to pick up the mount because Lezcano, who rode V. E. Day in the Curlin, decided to stick with Mr Speaker, the winner of the Belmont Derby on turf in his last start. The Travers will be Mr Speaker’s first start on dirt since he finished seventh in the Holy Bull Stakes on Jan. 25.

Bayern was expected to be flown from Southern California to Saratoga on Wednesday morning. He will attempt to give trainer Bob Baffert his second Travers victory. Baffert won the race with Point Given in 2001.

The Travers will be shown live along with the Grade 1 Ballerina on NBC Sports in a 90-minute broadcast beginning at 4:30 p.m. Eastern. The Travers is scheduled for 5:46 p.m.

grayposse More than 1 year ago
Seem more to be had by the bloggers than the clockers report......REFUND!!!!
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Called it. Go right to bottom of this blog. This colt is awesome. V.E.DAY. congrats to Jerkens family.
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
Well Beyern is itoff to the BC Dirt Mile and Tonalist needs a freshening. As much a I hate to do this Wicked Strong needs John Velasquez immediately, hope he makes it to the Classic
flash gordon More than 1 year ago
Thought Strong ran a winning race.Tonalist a one hit wonder and Bayern's a miler.
Pagani Zonda More than 1 year ago
I am on VE Day, but Mr.Speaker, if he can run on dirt look out. He is the classiest horse in the field.
flash gordon More than 1 year ago
Props to you picking VE.Hope you cashed big.
Barry Williams More than 1 year ago
Beyern 2014 = Verrazano 2013
Billy Spathanas More than 1 year ago
They will be calling Martin Garcia the Little Big Jock come Monday Bayern on the East Coast Game on Dude out West
Boyd Cord More than 1 year ago
changed my mind, on paper it's Bayern,Tonalist,Wicked Strong. okay we all know that. Now look at who's riding. You have Martin Garcia, Rosario and Maragh on them But the Jockeys on the 1,4 and 8 each have more wins at the distance this year than the jocks on the favorites. BTW: How did Napravnik not get a mount? she got hurt , still has a ton of wins this year
Bob More than 1 year ago
Question should be why can't we make many in shorter fields . People leave the track broke as it is , how is adding 3-4 more horses to the race easier. C'mon people . 2-1 is 2-1 regardless of field size. You all get the point . ROI is he key. Just cash tix.
Bill Negron More than 1 year ago
I assume you meant MONEY right?
Ian GW More than 1 year ago
Im confused. Just read that days were over of 12, 13 races etc and to focus on quality etc. So why does Sat have 14 races with 9 or 10 in mainly every race? Best race so far at this meet came last week where 13 entered 7 f ALW. I even posted on the site that this is the model as a customer of this game would love to see followed. Even with two changes that Super paid what 77k? I'd rather lose three races to have two of them ALW with 13. I guess good for win bets and pick 3's this card but TRI/SUP with 10 cent average and 25% take it scares me away to use that part of my bankroll elsewhere. Typical politics say one thing and do the other. And I'm not complaining so don't read it the wrong way, I'm more puzzled? I was hoping to see a 7f ALW with 13 entered. The race that paid 77k? To me that creates buzz and excitement for the game. Id be happy with the SAT card and 2 of those. 10 max? Deflates me. Maybe somebody can explain this to me? Maybe I'm wrong? Do they max the entries per race so its capped? I dont know that part of the game and how cards are created. Just that they have a racing condition book. Is it because owners don't like big fields?
FESTUS ELROY More than 1 year ago
Traditionally a classic 3 year old race.2nd tier this year without the top 2 Belief or Chrome.And don't give me the c r a p about the 11/2 Bemont .Until Tonalist beats Chrome @ 9-10 furlongs Chrome is King of the division.
Mark More than 1 year ago
Stronger race by far than the preakness field CC beat.
Mark More than 1 year ago
And tell me exactly who shared belief has beat ? Wow. Bad bad uninformed opinion.
FESTUS ELROY More than 1 year ago
The question should be"Who has beat Shared Belief?"
flash gordon More than 1 year ago
stop with the chrome. he is irreverent like tiger wood is now.sick and tired of hearing their names.
Pagani Zonda More than 1 year ago
Johnnie Football...there that will stick for a while...
Dennis Ho More than 1 year ago
Johnny who? Unitas?