The Travers Stakes is a beloved contest for three-year-old Thoroughbreds held every August at Saratoga in New York. The 2021 edition will be run on Saturday, August 28. The race is nicknamed the Midsummer Classic because it typically brings the winners of the Triple Crown races together to do battle over 1 1/4 miles for a purse of $1.25 million.
The 2020 Travers Stakes was won by Tiz the Law, who enjoyed an excellent year at the races in 2020.
Congratulations to New York–bred Tiz the Law on today’s win at the Travers Stakes in Saratoga Springs.
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) August 8, 2020
Odds for the 2021 Travers Stakes will come out closer to the race, as it becomes clearer which horses will run in the race. We'll update this page to ensure our readers get the latest information about how to bet the Travers Stakes online.
The odds were last updated on August 4, 2021:
|2021 The Travers Stakes winners odds|
The 2020 Travers Stakes (G1) was run earlier than usual to serve as a prep for the COVID-19-delayed Kentucky Derby. In 2021 the race returns to its traditional place on the calendar, the second-to-last Saturday of the Saratoga meet. As the race draws closer, check your favorite bookmakers to find the best Travers Stakes betting odds.
Travers Stakes Live Odds
As the Travers Stakes gets closer and trainers and owners declare their horses as being pointed to the race, online sportsbooks such as Bovada will begin to offer Travers Stakes live odds. Make sure you have made accounts at one or more racebooks, and then check them regularly for horse racing wagering information and odds.
Travers Stakes Entries
The Travers Stakes entries and odds are officially drawn the Wednesday before the race, which in 2020 means Wednesday, August 25. After his gutsy victory in the Jim Dandy (G2), the top local prep race, Belmont Stakes (G1) winner Essential Quality is expected to be the favorite in the Travers Stakes. Trained by Brad Cox for Godolphin, he is the 2020 Champion Two Year Old Male and has remained elite at three.
Other top horses who are being considered for the Travers include Keepmeinmind, who finished a close second to Essential Quality in the Jim Dandy, King Fury, who is expected to take his final prep on turf in the Saratoga Derby (G1), Haskell (G1) winner Mandaloun, and Curlin Stakes winner Dynamic One, whose best performance in graded company was a close second in the Wood (G2).
Travers Stakes History
The Travers Stakes is older than any of the three Triple Crown races. It has not been run continually, missing editions in 1896, 1898, 1899, 1900, 1911, and 1912. The $1.25 million race currently covers 1 1/4 miles but has previously been run over 1 3/4 miles, 1 1/2 miles, and 1 1/8 miles. It is one of the most prestigious races in North America.
The winner receives a blanket of red and white carnations, the Man o' War Cup trophy, and the winning silks are painted on a canoe in the Saratoga infield.
The very first Travers Stakes was won by Kentucky in 1864. Seven fillies have won the Travers, including Ruthless, with the most recent filly winner being Lady Rotha in 1915.
A horse named Hindoo won the race in 1881 as part of an 18 race win streak. The mighty Man o' War won the Travers in 1920 over Upset, the horse who handed him the only loss of his career, in record time.
Whirlaway became the first and only Triple Crown winner to win the Travers in 1941. American Pharoah tried to match that feat in 2015 but finished second behind Keen Ice in an upset.
Perhaps the most thrilling edition of the Travers was in 1962. That year top three-year-olds Ridan and Jaipur broke together and battled for the entire 1 1/4 miles. Jaipur ultimately won by a nose in track record time.
Damascus has the margin record for the Travers at 22 lengths. That happened in 1967.
In 1978, arch-rivals Affirmed and Alydar met for the final time in their 10-race rivalry. Affirmed had defeated Alydar in all three Triple Crown races, and crossed the finish line first in the Travers, but was disqualified for interference.
Three times in history, all three horses that won Triple Crown races have finished behind a new face in the Travers. In 1918 Sun Briar defeated Belmont Stakes winner Johren, Preakness winner War Cloud, and Kentucky Derby winner Exterminator. In 1982, Canadian-bred Runaway Groom won at odds of 13-1, defeating Kentucky Derby winner Gato Del Sol, Preakness winner Aloma's Ruler, and Belmont Stakes winner Conquistador Cielo. Most recently this happened in 2017, with Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming, Preakness Stakes winner Cloud Computing, and Belmont Stakes hero Tapwrit all finishing behind the fittingly-named California invader West Coast.
In 2001, Point Given became the first horse to ever win four consecutive $1 million races when he won the Travers after already winning the Preakness, Belmont, and Haskell. He went on to be named Horse of the Year.
The first dead heat for the win in Travers history came in 2012, with favored Alpha and longshot Golden Ticket being inseparable at the wire. Saratoga had to add a second canoe in the infield pond and a second winning jockey's statue in the paddock.
General Assembly, one of the best sons of Secretariat, set a Travers record of 2:00.0 in 1979, which stood until Arrogate won by over 13 lengths in 1:59.36 to set a new record.
The most wins by a trainer is five for Bert Mulholland, with his last win coming in 1963 with Crewman. Trainer Shug McGaughey has the most of any active trainer, with four. His most recent came with Code of Honor in 2019.
Kentucky Derby winners that have also won the Travers include Street Sense (2007), Thunder Gulch (1995), and Sea Hero (1993). 2006 Preakness Stakes winner Bernardini won the Travers, and Belmont Stakes winners to score include Tiz the Law (2020), Summer Bird (2009), Birdstone (2004), Point Given (2001), and Lemon Drop Kid (1999).
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Travers Stakes Payouts
Travers Stakes betting can be lucrative, since there is a storied history of longshots winning the race. In 1930, Triple Crown winner Gallant Fox lost to 100-1 shot Jim Dandy in the race; the main local prep for the Travers now bears his name. In 2015, Keen Ice defeated another Triple Crown winner, American Pharoah, in a huge upset.
Arrogate was a surprising 11-1 when he scored in 2016 in record time. He went on to win the Breeders' Cup Classic, Pegasus World Cup, and Dubai World Cup in one of the most historic runs in racing lore.
Some recent Travers Stakes payouts include:
2020 - Tiz the Law $3.00
2019 - Code of Honor $10.80
2018 - Catholic Boy $16.20
2017 - West Coast $14.20
2016 - Arrogate $25.40
2015 - Keen Ice $34.00
2014 - V.E. Day $41.00
2013 - Will Take Charge $21.20
2012 - Golden Ticket $26.80/Alpha $4.10 (dead heat)
2011 - Stay Thirsty $6.80
Only three favorites have won the Travers Stakes in the last 10 years.
Travers Stakes Field
The 2020 Travers Stakes will be held Saturday, August 28 at Saratoga. The Travers Stakes field will be drawn on Wednesday, August 25.
Watch for jockey Javier Castellano, who has already won the race six times (Keen Ice, V.E. Day, Afleet Express, Catholic Boy, Bernardini, Stay Thirsty) and remains in the prime of his riding career. John Velazquez (Flower Alley, Code of Honor) has won it twice in the last 15 years, as has Mike Smith, who has won it four times overall (Arrogate, West Coast, Coronado's Quest, Holy Bull).
As far as trainers, Shug McGaughey has won it four times (Easy Goer, Rhythm, Coronado's Quest, and Code of Honor), and Bob Baffert three times (Point of Honor, Arrogate, West Coast). D. Wayne Lukas has won it three times (Corporate Report, Thunder Gulch, Will Take Charge), and Todd Pletcher twice (Flower Alley, Stay Thirsty). Trainer Chad Brown is still seeking his first win in the Travers as of 2021.