Tacitus, the Belmont Stakes and Jim Dandy runner-up, drew post 6 and was installed as the 5-2 morning-line favorite by New York Racing Association linemaker David Aragona for Saturday’s 150th running of the Grade 1, $1.25 million Travers Stakes at Saratoga.
Tacitus, trained by Bill Mott for Juddmonte Farms, won the Tampa Bay Derby and Wood Memorial earlier in the year. He finished fourth in the Kentucky Derby but was elevated to third with the disqualification of Maximum Security from first.
Tacitus was the favorite in both the Belmont and Jim Dandy, but had a wide trip in the Belmont where he finished second to Sir Winston and then stumbled badly at the break under Jose Ortiz when finishing second to Tax in the Jim Dandy.
Mott, seeking his first Travers victory, is adding blinkers to Tacitus’ equipment for the Travers.
The Travers field swelled to 12 on Monday when trainer Bob Baffert, a three-time Travers winner, announced that Mucho Gusto, runner-up to Maximum Security in the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational at Monmouth, would run. Mucho Gusto, Ohio Derby winner Owendale and West Virginia runner-up Chess Chief all arrived in Saratoga on Tuesday following a cross-country flight that originated in Southern California and stopped in Louisville, Ky.
The Travers, which will be aired on national FOX Sports during a one-hour program from 5 to 6 p.m. Eastern, will go as race 11 [5:44 p.m. post] on a 13-race card that begins at 11:35 a.m. The remainder of Saturday’s card, which includes Grade 1 stakes such as the Sword Dancer, Forego, H. Allen Jerkens and Personal Ensign, was to be drawn on Wednesday.
The Travers field:
1 Owendale Brad Cox Florent Geroux 6-1
2 Code Of Honor Shug McGaughey John Velazquez 4-1
3 Highest Honors Chad Brown Luis Saez 10-1
4. Laughing Fox Steve Asmussen Ricardo Santana Jr. 30-1
5 Everfast Dale Romans Martin Chuan 30-1
6. Tacitus Bill Mott Jose Ortiz 5-2
7 Mucho Gusto Bob Baffert Joe Talamo 6-1
8 Chess Chief Dallas Stewart Mike Smith 30-1
9. Looking At Bikinis Chad Brown Javier Castellano 10-1
10 Scars Are Cool Stan Hough Tyler Gaffalione 30-1
11 Endorsed Kiaran McLaughlin Joel Rosario 15-1
12 Tax Danny Gargan Irad Ortiz Jr. 6-1