SUNDAY NOVEMBER 19, 2017
 
Blog SPORTS EXTRAS
WHO WILL WIN THE 2017 TRAVERS STAKES?
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The Travers Stakes at Saratoga Racecourse in New York, which is also known as the Mid-Summer Derby, is one of the leading races in North America for three-year-old horses. In terms of classifications in the division, only the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes are more prestigious on the calendar.

The betting for this year’s Travers Stakes is headed by Classic Empire, who was second in the Preakness Stakes back in May, where he was denied the victory by a head as Cloud Computing got the better of him in a photo finish. Mark Casse’s runner was one of the leading two-year-olds in the USA last year as he won on three of his four starts, his only defeat coming when he unseated his pilot Irad Ortiz Jr, in the Grade One Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga. A victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita ensured he went into 2017 as one of the leading contenders for the early races in the Triple Crown series.

If Classic Empire can repeat his form of 2016, he should be the horse to beat at Saratoga, where he is the +350 favourite with the bookmakers, with comparison sites such as The Winners Enclosure highlighting the best sign-up offers and daily tips. If you are new to horse racing betting, you may be able to pick up a free bet after making your opening deposit.

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Irish War Cry is another horse who has some good form to his name in this year’s leading Triple Crown races as he was second in the Belmont Stakes last month behind Tapwrit. The Graham Motion-trained colt is stepping back down in trip at Saratoga but that should not be a problem for him as he won over 1800m at Aqueduct earlier in the campaign in the Grade Two Memorial Stakes.

The son of Curlin only made one start as a two-year-old but he was thrown straight into a Grade Two content on only his second racecourse start where he won the Lambholm South Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park. Despite high expectations, he was slightly disappointing in the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs where he weakened inside the final couple of furlongs. Irish War Cry is +500 to win the third Grade Two content of the year in New York.

One of the most lightly raced colts running in the Saratoga Stakes this year is Cloud Computing for trainer Chad Brown. The three-year-old won the Preakness Stakes in what was only his fourth start of his career. The Grade One winner will not be stepping down in class and is likely to be popular at +550 to follow up his success at Pimlico.

Cloud Computing took on Irish War Cry earlier this year in the Wood Memorial Stakes, but he had to settle for third place in the 1800m contest behind Motion’s horse and Battalion Runner, who came home second.

The field for the Saratoga Stakes is also set to include Irap, Always Dreaming, Gunnevera, American Anthem, West Coast, Practical Joke, Timeline and Patch, in what looks to be one of the most interesting races this summer. The preference has to be with Classic Empire though who looks to have a big future ahead of him at this middle-distance trip.

Connections of this year’s winner will be hoping their horse can follow in the footsteps of the 2016 champion Arrogate, who has since gone on to become the highest rated horse in the world on dirt following his victory in New York.

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