Travers Day Recap! - Super Screener
Super Screener

Travers Day Recap!

Photo by Bob Mayberger/Eclipse Sportswire

Travers (G1)

Unlike the past few Travers Stakes, the Super Screener completely whiffed on this year’s edition. Catholic Boy was penalized too much for recent races on turf. Just translating those last two turf efforts “as is” to dirt performances puts him in the mix… regardless of the forward-favoring Saratoga surface in route races that was the case on Saturday.  

No matter what, however, Mendelssohn would not have been on any tickets no matter how many times you sliced and diced this race. His last two races were just too poor and even using his turf race from last year, wouldn’t put him in the top half of the field. You would have had to assume he would run back to his Dubai performance, but there was no data suggesting he would. Connections deployed the right strategy on this forwardly-favored surface… get out of the gate and secure the lead… it worked for a good 2nd place finish.

Everyone that countered that Vino Rosso won’t show up were right and we were wrong. His alternating performance pattern was broken and he was too far back early.  

The only “Super Screener got it right” that came out of this race was selecting King Zachary from long shots to hit the bottom of the Superfecta.

Sword Dancer (G1)

What the heck happened with Sadler’s Joy? While there was no pace to speak of, this horse has overcome slower pace set ups before with ease. There was a sigh of “oh oh” when he entered the gate and was all washy. Definitely not his day in a race he won last year. Glorious Empire did it again stealing this race on the front end carving out dreadfully slow fractions after the first quarter. It was Glorious Empire and Channel Maker 1-2 all the way around lending further credence to how slow that early pace was. Highland Sky and Sadlers Joy were the closers most compromised by the slow pace.

Forego (G1)

Whitmore got the perfect trip sitting of the white hot pace, and then got the dream opening on the rail and shot through – outrunning a game City of Light, who took the overland route to finish 2nd. Give extra credit to C Z Rocket for tending the pace and hanging on for a game 4th.

Personal Ensign (G1)

No surprises here, the top three choices finished 1-2-3. Both Abel Tasman and Elate will come into the Distaff as prime win contenders, and they are the top older fillies.

H. Allen Jerkens (G2)

Promises Fulfilled looked very impressive here, laying down brutally fast fractions and continuing on with energy. A force to be reckoned with. Engage had every opportunity but did not fire. Screener was correct in indicating that Firenze fire was vulnerable for the Exacta here, as that energy gets distributed too late… really needs a one-turn mile for his best.

Ballerina (G1)

Baffert’s filly, Marley’s Freedom, is the NOW horse and proved it with a decisive victory, enjoying a perfect trip. The Super Screener Top Long Shot pick, Still There, ran a good second, beating other highly favored horses. Finley’sluckycharm ran an uncharacteristically poor race without any excuses (though the Screener did have her ranked as low as 5th so confidence was not high).

MCL Turf

The Screener’s favorite race of the day was actually the Maiden Claimer turf race that closed out the card as it was a full field and had high pay off potential written all over it.  Here’s what went right in this race:

  1. The payoffs were indeed high.  The Exacta, for example, paid nearly $600 for a $2 wager
  2. Screener indicated that the best wagering strategy in this “spread” race was to use Victor Lounge and Azzedine as a pair, avoiding the win spot and use them in 2nd and 3rd… Victor Lounge finished 3rd
  3. A I Initiative, off the nearly one-year layoff, was a key Top Long Shot play… he finished 2nd at odds of 29-1

What went wrong:

  1. We didn’t use #11 Spring On Curlin in the win spot and he won despite having raced many times before without being able to win a race.


Onward and forward as we march into the Labor Day Weekend already.  Plenty of graded stakes action left to consider all weekend long from the final weekend of racing for the Saratoga and Del Mar meets.

Until next weekend, Go Fast and Win!