2017 Mid-Summer Derby Travers Stakes Rankings

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D.S. Williamson

July 23rd, 2017

The 2017 Mid-Summer Derby, the Travers Stakes, takes place on August 26. The 3 winners of the Triple Crown races: Derby winner Always Dreaming, Preakness winner Cloud Computing, and Belmont winner Tapwrit, are likely to show up in the Travers' starting gate.

Classic Empire should be good to go for the Travers as well. The 2-year-old champ didn't make my Top 5 list. Not yet. I'm not sure if Empire is at 100%. I am sure that the following 5 horses should make for a fantastic Mid-Summer Derby.

1. West Coast

The Bob Baffert trained son of Flatter by Carressing has won 3 in a row since finishing second in the Grade 3 Lexington Stakes. He has the breeding, Flatter's sire is A.P. Indy, and is right-minded enough to take it to his competition in the Travers Stakes.

At this point, I'm willing to put him on top in all my exotic bets. Mike Smith rides, which means West Coast has almost the same connections as 2016 Travers winner Arrogate.

2. Cloud Computing

Chad Brown has this guy scheduled to run in the Jim Dandy on July 29. That must be a prep for the Travers. Cloud Computing showed ability all winter long. Brown made the right move by keeping this guy out of the Run for the Roses. I think he improves big time in the Jim Dandy. So much so, that my feeling is he goes off the favorite to win the Mid-Summer Derby in August.

3. Always Dreaming

I'm not ready to give up on Always Dreaming just yet. First, he still won the Kentucky Derby. Second, Todd Pletcher never runs his horses with only 2 weeks of rest. I think he's got some upside. Like Cloud computing, Always Dreaming is headed towards next Saturday's Jim Dandy.

4. Practical Joke

I truly think that if Practical Joke had stayed on the rail in the Kentucky Derby, he may have won it. He still finished fifth, which isn't bad. The Dwyer Stakes win was fantastic. He beat a good field that day. Battalion Runner finished third.

I'm not sure what Chad Brown's plans are for Practical Joke. I do believe he'd be a tough horse to deal with in the Travers Stakes. I'm hoping that's where Brown's pointing him. We shall see. If he shows up, because of the other talent in the race, Practical Joke might go off at overlaid odds.

5. Hence

Sometimes, it takes Steve Asmussen three-year-old colts to grow up some before hitting their stride. Think Gun Runner. Still, Hence was terrific putting a beat down on his rivals in the Grade 3 Iowa Derby in his last.

Hence's closing kick reminds me of Victory Gallop's. He had no shot closing against the muddy bias in the Derby. There was no way he was going to close at Pimlico in the Preakness Stakes. Saratoga? Oh, Hence could get it done at the Graveyard of Champions.

Saratoga's the place where Keen Ice closed in the Travers to upset American Pharoah. Don't sleep on the Asmussen trainee.