At the Gate – Wednesday

Post positions were drawn yesterday for the $1.25 million Travers (G1) on Saturday at Saratoga and a field of 12 three-year-olds will line up in a very competitive edition.

The race lost Maximum Security and Game Winner last week, both of those colts likely to show up next month in the Pennsylvania Derby (G1).

However, it is still a solid field led by the 5-2 morning line favorite Tacitus. The Bill Mott trainee comes in into the race off runner up finishes in the Belmont (G1) and more recently in the Jim Dandy (G2). The colt breaks from the six post with Jose Ortiz in the irons.

Code of Honor is the second choice on the morning line at 4-1. The colt was placed second in the Kentucky Derby (G1) and came back to win the Dwyer (G3) at Belmont Park going a mile in his last outing. Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez will ride and the colt breaks from the two post.

Tax (6-1) drew the 12 post and trainer Danny Gargan made it well known his colt is going to be sent early from the outside post. The colt won the Jim Dandy (G2) in his last start after a fourth in the Belmont two back.

Also at 6-1 are the Bob Baffert trained Mucho Gusto, who ran second in the Haskell Invitational (G1) and Owendale, who won the Ohio Derby (G3) in his last start.

The Travers is one of seven stakes on Saturday’s card at the Spa.

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Here is the second race (the opener is a steeplechase race) from Saratoga to get the day off to a good start:

SAR Race 2 OClm $25,000N1X (1:22 ET)
#1 South of the Shore 8-5
#3 Mo Moxie 6-1
#5 Smooth With a Kick 7-5
#2 Bellera 7-2

Analysis: South of the Shore
stalked the early pace and finished up well for the runner up spot last out in her first start against winners over a wet track at Belmont Park. She ran into Dunbar Road, who came back to win the Mother Goose (G2) and Alabama (G1) in her next two starts. The Chad Brown trainee returns off a nearly a three month break here and should be able to handle nine furlongs and a wet track if we get it.

Mo Moxie stalked the early pace, had to steady in traffic at the eighth pole and finished up well for third last out. The winner Potra Liza came back to beat starter optional claimers in her next outing at Monmouth Park on Aug. 2. She was a smart looking maiden winner two back going 1 1/16 miles and is bred to handle nine furlongs and has a strong off track pedigree.

WIN: #1 to win at 8-5 or better.
EX: 1 / 3,5
TRI: no play

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Saratoga:

SAR Race 9 Alw $80,000N1X (5:06 ET)
#2 Thorny Tale 6-1
#7 Amundson 9-2
#3 Our Last Buck 8-1
#12 Bustin Hoffman 12-1

Analysis: Thorny Tale
set the early fractions and weakened to finish third last out on turf going seven furlongs in a NY Stallion Series race. The winner Rinaldi came back to win another NY Stallion Series race in his next start on July 24. This guy has been better n dirt and ran third in the state bred Rego Park three back over a fast main track and was second in the slop in a NY Stallion Series race last December. The Weaver barn is 20% winners moving runners from turf to dirt. It would be a plus if the track come sup wet, he is bred for it and has a second and a third in two trips on off going.

Amundson was bumped coming out of the gate last out in his first start against winners, tracked the early pace and finished evenly while in a deadheat for fourth going six furlongs at Belmont Park. He graduated in the slop at Delaware Park by 10 1/2 lengths in his second career start and fist off a 4 1/2-month break. Trainer by former Pletcher assistant DePaz, he makes his third start off the bench and looks as if he has as much upside as any in this group.

WIN: #2 to win at 4-1 or better.
EX: 2,7 / 2,3,7,12
TRI: 2,7 / 2,3,7,12 / 2,3,7,9,12

Live Longshots:
These are price plays for exotic players looking to find a couple of extra contenders to use in their trifecta and superfecta wagers. Or for those with smaller bankrolls, you might want to get in a small win-place wager.

R1: #1 Storm Team 15-1
R4: #3 Redicean 8-1
R5: #8 Never Heard of Her 15-1
R6: #2 Montana Man 8-1
R7: #1 Liam Lets Go 10-1
R8: #11 Hoponthebusgus 12-1
R8: C#10 Clearwater 8-1
R8: #8 Morisette 8-1
R9: #3 Our Last Buck 8-1
R9: #12 Bustin Hoffman 12-1
R10: #3 Sarahrini 8-1
R10: #4 Avacado Tost 8-1

Good luck today!