Just as expected from all the hype preceding the race, the bettors at Saratoga, and throughout the country, made Verazano, Palace Malice, and Orb the top three picks, in that order, in the $1 million Travers Stakes on Saturday. The writers who wrote about those three horses leading up to the Travers all seemed to have this insane notion that one of those three horses deserved to be Horse of the Year, and that the Travers would decide which horse that would be.
Guess what? The writers were wrong. The betting public, playing follow the leader as usual, was wrong. Only one of the three horses, Orb, even finished in the money. When will the writers and bettors realize there are no standout three-year-old horses this year? Hopefully, for me, they won’t.
The best bet in the Travers was second place finisher Moreno at odds of 31/1. For some unfathomable reason, the track odds maker set his morning line odds at 12/1. The question I had to ask was, why? The horse won the Grade 2 Dwyer Stakes by seven lengths in early July in a very respectable time of 1:41, three ticks faster than any other horse entered in the Travers had ever run the distance. Last out he finished third in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy Stakes just three and one-half lengths behind Palace Malice. Yet, despite those accomplishments, Moreno was ignored by the track odds maker and by the betting public. Not that I am complaining mind you. I’ll take a $25.40 payout for a place wager any day of the week.
I have no idea why you handicap horse races, or, what motivates you to do so. For me, these days at least, it is the ease with which I can make a living and still enjoy my favorite past time. As regular readers know, I once endeavored to find “the winner” of every race I handicapped. Now, my goal is to find worthwhile bets, and when I saw Moreno going to post at 33/1 in the Travers Stakes, it was like finding gold lying on the streets.