2021 Travers Stakes one-liners
After a wide trip contributed to his only career loss in the Kentucky Derby (G1), champion Essential Quality shouldn’t have that problem in the “Midsummer Derby,” Saturday’s Travers S. (G1). The 4-5 morning-line favorite is drawn toward the inside in post 2.
Several of his opponents are fellow veterans of the Triple Crown trail. Midnight Bourbon and very familiar foe Keepmeinmind fit this category best. Dynamic One was a Derby also-ran, but arguably has more in common with the late developers Masqueparade and Miles D. King Fury also straddles the categories, as an experienced stakes campaigner who nevertheless missed the classics and still has upside.
Here’s my executive summary of the Travers septet, in post position order:
#1 Midnight Bourbon: Tiznow colt could get his dream scenario of being controlling speed from the rail, as in his Lecomte (G3) victory.
#2 Essential Quality: Class of the field has to avoid bad luck, like finding himself pocketed on the inside with no way out.
#3 Keepmeinmind: Better than ever right now but still couldn’t beat Essential Quality at his most vulnerable in the Jim Dandy (G2).
#4 Dynamic One: Upwardly mobile type has a license to keep progressing, but won’t have as easy a pick-up scenario as he did in the Curlin S.
#5 Miles D: Blueblood made the leap from maiden win to stakes competitor when runner-up in the Curlin, but inexperience is a bigger negative here.
#6 Masqueparade: Stalker projects a beneficial trip more reminiscent of his Ohio Derby (G3) win than his Jim Dandy third.
#7 King Fury: Talented but hard-luck colt deserves a change of fortune one of these days.