Cindy's Horse Racing Website Index

2003 Travers Stakes

Funny Cide winning the Preakness.

Updated: 08/22/2003


Update: Both Funny Cide and Empire Maker have scratched due to not being 100% for the race. Peace Rules will go now and a new morning line has been set (see below).

Funny Cide drew post position No. 7 for the 134th running of the $1 million Travers stakes at a media breakfast in the Saratoga paddock on Wednesday morning. The 1 1/4-mile race will be run on Saturday.

Funny Cide, who won the Kentucky Derby (Gr. 1) and the Preakness Stakes (Gr. 1), is 75-percent likely to actually go to the post in the Travers Stakes, according to trainer Barclay Tagg. Funny Cide spiked a fever after finishing third in the Haskell Invitational (Gr. 1) on Aug. 3 and his status for the Travers had been the source of speculation ever since. The New York-bred gelding worked 4 furlongs in :47 4/5 on Tuesday morning. Trainer Barclay Tagg said, "He seemed to come out of [Tuesday's] work really well. He wasn't perspiring too much and wasn't blowing a whole lot." He continued, "It's kind of a push to get him into this race. You hate to miss the Travers, you hate to miss a $1 million race, but you've got to do what's best for the horse or you'll miss the rest of the year."

Empire Maker, winner of the 2003 Belmont Stakes.
Trainer Robert Frankel surprised many when he entered both Empire Maker and Peace Rules. Jerry Bailey was named on both horses, so one will be scratched prior to the race. Frankel, who entered Haskell winner Peace Rules for "insurance purposes," admitted that Empire Maker has coughed recently, but he is not overly concerned. "There's always rumors," Frankel said. "He missed one day going to the track, so that's probably how it started." The Frankel-trained entry is the morning-line favorite at 8-5. Peace Rules, the winner of the Haskell, drew the No. 3 post. Belmont Stakes (Gr. 1) winner Empire Maker drew No. 5.

Strong Hope, the frontrunning winner of the Dwyer (Gr. 2) at Belmont and the Jim Dandy (Gr. 2) at Saratoga, drew Post Position No. 2. He is trained by leading trainer Todd Pletcher and he will be ridden by leading jockey John Velazquez. He was listed as 4-1 on the morning line.

Sky Mesa won the Hopeful Stakes (Gr. 1) at Saratoga in 2002. He will break from the outside No. 8 post.

The Travers will go to post at 6:25 p.m. as the 11th race on a 12-race card and will be part of a two-hour ESPN telecast that starts at 5 p.m. EDT. The King's Bishop and Fourstardave will also be shown live while the Ballston Spa Breeders' Cup will be shown tape delayed.

There is plenty of wagering available on the Travers, including win, place, show, exacta, trifecta and the first half of the late daily double. The Mid-Summer Derby is also the final leg of the Pick Six and the $1 Million Guaranteed Pick 4.

General Assembly set the stakes record at 2:00 in 1979. Medaglia d'Oro won the 2002 running in 2:02 2/5. (Medaglia d'Oro, who won the 2003 Whitney, is trained by Bobby Frankel.)

Here is the field for the 134th running of the $1 million Travers (Gr. 1). Click each horse's name to view his profile. Free past performances are available here from Daily Racing Form.

13Peace RulesRobert FrankelJerry Bailey2-1
1A5Empire MakerRobert FrankelJerry BaileySCR
21CongratsClaude McGaugheyMike Luzzi8-1
32Strong HopeTodd PletcherJohn Velazquez4-1
44Ten Most WantedWallace DollasePat Day7-2
56Wild and WickedKen McPeekShane Sellers12-1
67Funny CideBarclay TaggJose SantosSCR
78Sky MesaJohn T. Ward Jr.Edgar Prado5-2

More on Saratoga

Official NYRA Travers Site

Back to Horse-Races.Net main page

Want to keep up with what's new on this site?
Sign up for my weekly newsletter here.

On the Forum:

Search Horse-Races.Net: