FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, August 25th, 2016
PREAKNESS WINNER EXAGGERATOR AND BELMONT STAKES WINNER CREATOR LEAD FULL FIELD FOR TRAVERS STAKES AT SARATOGA THIS SATURDAY, AUGUST 27 LIVE AT 4:30 PM ET ON NBC
Top 3-year-olds clash in “Mid-Summer Derby” on “Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win And You’re In – Presented by Lane’s End Farm and America’s Best Racing”
NEW YORK (August 25, 2016) – Preakness Stakes winner Exaggerator and Belmont Stakes winner Creator headline a full field of 14 3-year-olds set to battle this Saturday, August 27 at 4:30 p.m. ET on NBC in the $1 million Travers Stakes at Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., as the 2016 “Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In presented by Lane’s End Farm and America’s Best Racing.”
Saturday’s 90-minute ‘Summer at Saratoga’ program is the fifth of nine telecasts in the “Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In, presented by Lane’s End Farm and America’s Best Racing,” on NBC and NBCSN, featuring 16 “Win And You’re In” races plus other major stakes on the road to the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, November 4-5 at Santa Anita Park, and televised by NBC Sports Group. Saturday’s show will also be streamed live on NBCSports.com and NBC Sports app. Winners of these Challenge races, which combined offer more than $10 million in purses, automatically qualify for a spot in the Breeders’ Cup.
Tom Hammond hosts the Travers broadcast, and will be joined by Hall of Fame jockey and analyst Jerry Bailey, analyst Randy Moss, reporters Kenny Rice and Donna Brothers and handicapper Eddie Olczyk. Daily Racing Form’s Matt Bernier will also serve as a handicapper.
The Travers broadcast will also include live coverage of the Longines Sword Dancer Invitational, which will reward the winner an automatic berth into the $4 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf.
While the Travers is not an automatic qualifier for the Classic, the 1 ¼ mile race is loaded with Classic contenders in November and should go a long way in clearing up a muddled 3-year-old picture. A win on Saturday by Big Chief Racing’s 3-1 favorite Exaggerator would go a long way in giving him a decided leg up for championship honors. Trained by Keith Desormeaux and ridden by his younger brother Keith, Exaggerator won the Santa Anita Derby in May, was second in the Kentucky Derby, won the Preakness and, after stubbing his toe when last-of-11 in the Belmont, came back to win the “Win and You’re In” Haskell on at Monmouth Park July 31 to earn an automatic berth into this year’s Classic.
Standing in his way is a litany of contenders, making the Travers arguably the best 3-year-old race of the year. Southern Equine Stable’s Laoban, Jump Sucker Stable’s Governor Malibu and Eclipse Thoroughbred Partner’s Destin were 1-2-3, respectively, in the local prep, the July 30 Jim Dandy Stakes and all three have the credentials to win. Laoban, a son of 2010 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Uncle Mo trained by Eric Guillot, picked the right time to win his first race when he led every step of the way over a game Governor Malibu, trained by Christophe Clement, who was fourth in the Belmont, two spots behind Destin, a son of Giant’s Causeway trained by Todd Pletcher who won the Tampa Bay Derby in March and seemed home free in the Belmont before being run down in the shadow of the wire by fellow Travers rival Creator.
Trained by newly elected Hall of Fame Member Steve Asmussen, Creator won the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park in April, but has been inconsistent. He finished 13th in the Derby and then won the Belmont. Ridden by Irad Ortiz, Jr., he needs to make amends for a lackluster performance in the Jim Dandy, when he was last-of-six horses the entire way. His stablemate, Ron Winchell’s Gun Runner should provide some pace, as he won the Louisiana Derby (GII) from up close at Fair Grounds in March and was a solid third in the Derby, though he was ineffective in the mud while finishing fifth in the Haskell.
Last year, Triple Crown winner and Breeders’ Cup Classic winner American Pharoah, trained by Bob Baffert, lost just one race, and it was a hard-fought second to Keen Ice in the Travers. This year, Baffert brings two contenders to Saratoga in Mary West’s American Freedom, who was second in the Haskell, and newcomer Arrogate, a winner of three straight in California who will be making his stakes debut in the Travers.
About Breeders’ Cup
The Breeders’ Cup administers the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Thoroughbred racing’s year-end Championships. The Breeders’ Cup also administers the Breeders’ Cup Challenge qualifying series, which provides automatic starting positions into the Championships races. The 2016 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, consisting of 13 (grade I) races and purses totalling $28 million, will be held Nov. 4-5 at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., and will be televised live by the NBC Sports Group. Breeders’ Cup press releases appear on the Breeders’ Cup Web site, www.breederscup.com. You can also follow the Breeders’ Cup on social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube
About NBC Sports Group
When the Comcast-NBCUniversal transaction was completed in January 2011, the sports assets of the two companies combined to form NBC Sports Group, which serves sports fans 24/7 with premier live events, insightful studio shows, and compelling original programming. The sports media company consists of a unique array of sports assets, including NBC Sports, NBC Olympics, NBCSN (NBC Sports Network), Golf Channel, 10 NBC Sports Regional Networks, NBC Sports Radio and NBC Sports Digital. NBC Sports Group possesses an unparalleled collection of television rights agreements, partnering with some of the most prestigious sports properties in the world: the International Olympic Committee and United States Olympic Committee, the NFL, NHL, NASCAR, PGA TOUR, PGA of America, Royal & Ancient, Churchill Downs, NYRA, Breeders’ Cup, Premier League, Tour de France, French Open, Formula One, IndyCar and many more.