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Coil, Stay Thirsty and Shackleford Battle for Travers Supremacy


It doesn't look like Hurricane Irene is going to have too much of an influence on the mid-summer Derby that is set to unfold at Saratoga Racecourse tomorrow. The category 3 storm is hurtling towards the eastern coast of the United States and there had been questions over whether one of the biggest weekends of the American racing calendar would have to be postponed.


The race will go ahead and the forecast only calls for a 20% chance of rain in the morning. A sloppy racetrack would definitely set things up for Ruler On Ice – who conquered the 1m4f Belmont Stakes over a slick track. He is not considered one of the outright favourites for the 2011 Travers Stakes but he is certainly in the mix for this one – boasting a price that hovers between 8/1 and 7/1 ante post.

The New Jersey-based gelding ran a solid third to Coil and Shackleford in the 2011 Haskell Invitational over his home track of Monmouth Park. His connections have always declared that he was a horse that did what he wanted but a steady stream of sharp workouts look to be shaping him up nicely for this one.

The big story here seems to be the developing rivalry between Shackleford and Coil. The Preakness winner has proved that a lengthy campaign can still be a viable option for a genuinely sound and well-conformed horse with connections that know how to pick the right spots. The front-running colt boasts plenty of speed and also has the ability to sit just off the pace should he require it.

There isn't a gigantic amount of viable early speed here so punters can expect Shackleford to jump to the front barring any setbacks.

Coil is already being tipped as a genuine Breeders' Cup Classic contender despite only being a lightly-raced three-year-old who skipped the Triple Crown season. He seems to be delivering on the hype that Trappe Shot had last year – the late-emerging dark horse that didn't participate in the Crown but was pointed to an ambitious summer campaign.

Mike Repole stables also saddles Stay Thirsty for this one and he is taking some money from the betting public early on. He looks to still be progressing with a 2nd place in the Belmont to the aforementioned Ruler On Ice setting the stage for a smashing score in the Jim Dandy Stakes.

Stay Thirsty can be backed at 5/2 while Coil trades in the neighborhood of 3/1 or 11/4. Shackleford is sitting at either 7/2 or 4/1 depending on your bookmaker and then Ruler On Ice comes in at an 8/1 margin.  

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