Chad Brown Could Own the Travers Stakes

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D.S. Williamson

July 12th, 2018

Soon, all eyes will be on the two biggest summer meets:  Del Mar and Saratoga. Del Mar's opening day is on July 19. Only a day later, Saratoga opens its doors for yet another awesome meet. The highlight, like it is every year, is the Travers Stakes.

Some consider the Travers Stakes to be an extra Triple Crown race. That's why it's called the Mid-Summer Derby. Bob Baffert has owned the Travers the past couple of years. But, Baffert's top 3-year-old, Triple Crown winner Justify, is doubtful to run in the Haskell, Travers, or any other summer race.

Justify has developed an ankle issue. There's a chance that Justify never races again.

With Justify firmly out of the Travers picture, the Mid-Summer Derby appears wide open. Bob Baffert might send his other top 3-year-old, McKinzie, to the race. Even if he doesn't, Todd Pletcher will have one, maybe, even two, runners.

In addition to Pletcher having two runners, Chad Brown might have 3 runners.  Brown's 3 runners means Chad could easily own this year's Travers Stakes

Chad Brown Could Own the Travers Stakes

The reason Brown could own this year's Travers Stakes isn't because he will most likely have 3 horses in the race. The reason Chad could own this year's Travers Stakes is because he'll have 3 talented horses in the race.

Good Magic

That's Good Magic finishing second to Justify in the Kentucky Derby. Brown ran Good Magic two weeks later in the Preakness Stakes. There were plenty of reasons for Good Magic to tire in the late stages of that race after running so hard in the Derby.

The reason the son of Curlin should be much tighter in both the Jim Dandy on July 28 and in the Travers in August is because a) he'll have improved tons since the Preakness run, and b) he will have physically matured. Physical maturity is one of the things we often forget when handicapping 3-year-olds. If Arrogate and West Coast hadn't physically matured, they might not have won the Travers.

Instilled Regard

Under Jerry Hollendorfer, Instilled Regard managed to finish fourth in the Derby. He hasn't raced since then. Now in Chad Brown's barn, the son of Arch is scheduled to run in the Jim Dandy before racing in the Travers. The Kentucky Derby run implies that he might be one of those sneaky good summer 3-year-old horses.

What I like about Instilled Regard is that he can run close to the pace, like he did to win the LeComte Stakes, or close from off the pace, like he did in the Derby. If he's improved at all, he'll be a tough horse to deal with in both the Jim Dandy and the Travers.


He proved his quality when almost catching Justify in the Belmont Stakes. There's no reason to believe that under Brown's care he doesn't improve for the Travers Stakes. His turn of foot was ultra-impressive. The horse loves dirt. I think that's a given based on how he responded to the jockey's urging in the Belmont.

Can he win the Travers. Oh, yes, he most certainly can. Gronkowski gives Chad Brown a third possible Travers contender. That makes the 2018 Travers Stakes Chad Brown's to lose.