Jim Dandy Stakes winner Medaglia d'Oro has been installed the odds-on 2-5 morning line choice to win Saturday's $1-million Travers Stakes (gr. I). The 3-year-old son of El Prado trained by Bobby Frankel will break from the No. 5 post position under Jerry Bailey as he seeks his first grade I victory. The Travers, aka "The Mid-Summer Derby," will be shown on ESPN as part of a 90-minute telecast scheduled to begin at 5:00 p.m. (ET).
Frankel disagreed with his colt's morning line of 2-5. "Nobody is 2-5," he said. "They still have to run around the track. He is no 2-5 shot."
Frankel said he will be letting his charge determine his own running style for the race. "He should get the distance. I'll just let him run out of there. I don't think he necessarily has to be on the lead by himself. In the Wood Memorial, he went head-to-head. In the San Felipe, he was on the lead, then dropped back and came back again. He's very versatile."
Nick Zito has two Travers-bound horses, Nothing Flat and Quest.
Nothing Flat began his racing career in March over the inner dirt track at Aqueduct where he finished second. "A lot of two- and three-year-olds need some time," Zito said. "You can't push or rush them. He just had baby interruptions, whether it is his shins or something else. Since his first start, he has progressed nicely."
Zito said Quest is a horse he has been touting for some time. In his last start he finished second, but lugged in, and was disqualified to eighth in the Jim Dandy.
"We thought he was one of our better three-year-olds," said Zito. "He's a beautiful horse with a lot of spirit and heart. He's an up-and-coming three-year-old. We thought his Jim Dandy race was great. He just ran into a buzz saw."
The Travers will be the first start since April when he ran second in the Illinois Derby (gr. II). After the race he had surgery to remove bone chips.
" He runs well off layoffs," said trainer Ken McPeek. "We have everything to gain and nothing to lose. If he finishes second, third or fourth, then he needed the race. If he wins, then he's one of the best three-year-olds in America."
Post positions for the $1 million Travers Stakes (gr. I), Saturday, Aug. 24 at Saratoga (All horses carry 126 pounds):
Post, horse, jockey, odds
1--Shah Jehan, John Velazquez, 20-1
2--Quest, Javier Castellano, 12-1
3--Like a Hero, Laffit Pincay Jr., 8-1
4--Repent, Edgar Prad0, 6-1
5--Medaglia d'Oro, Jerry Bailey, 2-5
6--Gold Dollar, Jorge Chavez, 20-1
7--Saint Marden, Mike Smith, 20-1
8--Nothing Flat, Jose Santos, 15-1
9--Puzzlement, Jean-Luc Samyn, 20-1