Verrazano favored in nine-horse Travers
SARATOGA SPRINGS -- There was a dead heat in the Travers last year.
Todd Pletcher wouldn't mind if there was another on Saturday, as long as it involves his two horses.
The trainer will saddle the top two picks on the morning line, Haskell winner Verrazano and Belmont Stakes and Jim Dandy winner Palace Malice, in the 144th running of the $1 million centerpiece of the Saratoga Race Course meet.
NYRA oddsmaker Eric Donovan made Verrazano the 2-1 favorite, followed by Palace Malice at 5-2. Kentucky Derby winner Orb, who hasn't raced since a third in the Belmont, is 4-1 for trainer Shug McGaughey and owners Phipps Stable and Stuart Janney III.
"It's a good position to be in," Pletcher said. "Like I've said all along, it's good to have two horses of that quality. They've performed well all year and seem to be peaking now. The Travers is a very important race, and Saratoga is a very important meet to us, so it's good to have two strong representatives."
The Travers, which will be televised live on NBC during a broadcast from 4:30-6 p.m., will be run at 5:46.
Alpha and Golden Ticket dead-heated for the win last year, forcing NYRA to paint two of the traditional canoes that float on the infield pond.
Palace Malice is owned by Dogwood Stable, and Verrazano is co-owned by the Coolmore connections and Let's Go Stable.
Here are the post positions and odds, with trainer and jockey in parentheses (all carry 126 pounds):
1. Romansh (Tom Albertrani, Javier Castellano), 12-1
2. Orb (Shug McGaughey, Joel Rosario), 4-1
3. Verrazano (Todd Pletcher, John Velazquez), 2-1
4. Golden Soul (allas Stewart, Robby Albarado), 20-1
5. Will Take Charge (D. Wayne Lukas, Luis Saez), 10-1
6. Moreno (Eric Guillot, Jose Ortiz), 12-1
7. War Dancer (Ken McPeek, Alan Garcia), 15-1
8. Palace Malice (Todd Pletcher, Mike Smith), 5-2
9. Transparent (Kiaran McLaughlin, Irad Ortiz Jr.), 10-1