SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (AP) — Belmont Stakes winner Essential Quality drew the No. 2 post position Wednesday for the 152nd running of the Travers Stakes at Saratoga Race Course.
The champion 2-year-old will have regular rider Luis Saez aboard and is the 4-5 morning-line favorite among the field of seven 3-year-olds Saturday in the $1.25 million race, run at 1 1/4 miles.
The rest of the field for the so-called Mid-Summer Derby includes: Midnight Bourbon, which drew the inside post with jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. and is a 9-2 pick; Keepmeinmind, a 6-1 pick with jockey Joel Rosario aboard, will go from post 3; Irad Ortiz, Jr. will ride Dynamic One, a 6-1 pick, from post 4; Miles D, a 12-1 pick with jockey Flavien Prat, will go from post 5; Masqueparade will go from post 6 with jockey Miguel Mena and is listed at 8-1; and King Fury with José Ortiz aboard goes from post 7 and is listed at 15-1.
Trainer Brad Cox, who has saddled Essential Quality to seven wins in eight career starts, including three Grade 1 stakes, won one of the most prestigious races for older horses at the Saratoga meeting when Knicks Go won the Grade 1 Whitney earlier this month. Cox has a chance to become just the third trainer — and first since John M. Gaver, Sr. in 1942 — to win the Travers and Whitney in the same year with different horses.