Saturday's $1-million Travers Stakes (gr. I) drew a field of seven Wednesday morning, with some interesting scenarios developing from the post position order. The winner of the "Mid Summer Derby" likely will take over the top spot in the 3-year-old division, and establish himself as one of the top contenders for the Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I).
With Haskell Invitational (gr. I) winner Lion Heart drawing post 2 and Jim Dandy (gr. II) winner Purge right alongside in post 3, there shouldn't be any surprises how the early part of the 10-furlong race will unfold. Lion Heart, with Joe Bravo aboard, should have the lead all to himself, with Purge and John Velazquez tracking him in second. How well Purge settles and when Velazquez decides to pull the trigger will dictate the running of the race.
Nick Zito entered three horses, and all three will line up next to each other. Sir Shackleton, winner of the West Virginia Derby (gr. III), will break from post 4, with Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Birdstone and Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) winner The Cliff's Edge in posts 5 and 6, respectively.
That leaves the two longshots – Eddington and Suave – completing the field from posts 1 and 7, respectively.
Purge's trainer, Todd Pletcher, said he'd rather have more time between races for his colt, but he's satisfied with his training and feels he's up to the task.
"I wish we had more time, but that's the way it is," Pletcher said. "As a rule, most horses are going to run more consistently and better with time in between races. We like to give our horses four or five weeks in between races; it seems to be a strong stat for us. Occasionally, you have to step out of that when there are big opportunities like this and he obviously has an affinity for this track. We've got to give it a try."PP; Horse; Trainer; Jockey; Odds
1 -- Eddington/Mark Hennig/Richard Migliore, 15-1
2 -- Lion Heart/Patrick Biancone/Joe Bravo, 3-1
3 -- Purge/Todd Pletcher/John Velazquez, 2-1
4 -- Sir Shackleton/Nick Zito/Rafael Bejarano, 10-1
5 -- Birdstone/Nick Zito/Edgar Prado, 3-1
6 -- The Cliff's Edge/Nick Zito/Shane Sellers, 7-2
7 -- Suave/Paul McGee/Pat Day, 20-1