How Ed DeRosa is betting the Travers Stakes (aka is anyone betting against American Pharoah?)

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Ed DeRosa

August 29th, 2015

The most incredible thing to me about the build up of Triple Crown Champion American Pharoah running in the Travers Stakes is not the hoopla surrounding Pharoahtoga—the mainstream media coverage, the 15,000 to watch a workout, Joe Drape actually writing something good about racing.

All of that is pleasant and maybe in some cases more unexpected than other events, but the most surprising thing to me is that no one (except for The Big “A” Anthony Stabille) seems to be picking against this horse, myself included.

I don’t think he’s a cinch. I don’t think he wins this race 90%+ of the time that would earn that designation let alone the 80% of the time that would warrant betting him at 1-to-5. The issue for me in picking against him is that I don’t have an alternative for the win spot.

If I’m going to make the hero call of trying to beat the seven-time Grade 1 winner then I want some conviction behind that opinion. Wood Memorial Stakes winner Frosted, my pick to finish second, could win the Travers. So could Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Texas Red. Or (less likely) Upstart or Keen Ice.

Even though I’m firm in my stance of Frosted second, I couldn’t bring myself to pick him on top. American Pharoah proved he was best in their previous two meetings, and the dynamics of this race appear to be even more in the champ’s favor than either the Kentucky Derby or Belmont.

American Pharoah losing to any among the aforementioned quartet would not be the biggest upset in racing history. It would certainly add to Saratoga’s lore as the graveyard of favorites, but it wouldn’t shock me. If any of the other five win, however, then color me gobsmacked.

So how do we bet the race when EVERYONE is saying American Pharoah will win? Well, you can still bet him in the top spot, as opinions vary on who will finish second. I think Frosted is as good as any of the also rans in this group, and his price will be worth playing him heavily with the favorite.

Here are my Travers Stakes wagers (50 units wagered).

20-unit exacta 2-6 (20 units)

1-unit trifecta 2 with 6 with all (8 units)

1-unit trifecta 2 with 1, 7, 8, 10 with 6 (4 units)

1-unit trifecta 2 with 6 with 1, 7, 8, 10 (4 units)

1-unit exacta key box 2 with 1, 6, 7, 8, 10 (10 units)

1-unit trifecta 2 with 4, 6 with 1, 7, 8, 10 (4 units)