2021 Travers Stakes Contenders and Odds: Midnight Bourbon

The 152nd Travers Stakes, the Mid-Summer Derby, is Saturday, Aug. 28, at Saratoga Race Course. The top race of the summer for 3-year-olds is contested at 1¼ miles with a purse of $1.25 million. In the days leading up to the race, usracing.com will publish profiles of the contenders. Profiles will be updated with post position, odds, and jockey following the draw now scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 25.

2021 Travers Stakes Profile: Midnight Bourbon

By Margaret Ransom

Midnight Bourbon at Churchill Downs – Photo Courtesy of Coady Photography

Midnight Bourbon, unfortunately, was on the wrong end of a drifting Hot Rod Charlie in his last race, the Haskell Invitational (G1) at Monmouth Park a month ago, and stumbled badly when he clipped heels, tossing jockey Paco Lopez to the track. Both horse and rider were uninjured in the scary spill and the colt will be back in Travers.

Aside from a sixth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby (G1) and the kerfuffle in his last, the son of Tiznow has had a productive 2021. He started with a win in the Lecomte (G3), then was third in the Risen Star (G2) and second in the Louisiana Derby (G2), all at the Fair Grounds prior to the Derby. He then ran second in the Preakness (G2) behind Rombauer.

Midnight Bourbon worked a half-mile in 49.60 on Sunday (Aug. 22) over the Oklahoma training track at Saratoga.

“He’s a very impressive horse,” trainer Steve Asmussen said. “I think we’re obviously very fortunate that he came out of the mishap in the Haskell in good shape and he’s training well, per usual.”

2021 Travers Stakes Entries: Midnight Bourbon

Post position: TBD

Odds: TBD

Trainer: Steve Asmussen

Jockey: Paco Lopez

Owner: Winchell Thoroughbreds

Career record: 10-2-3-2

Career earnings: $673,920

Top Equibase speed figure: 99

Pedigree: Tiznow-Catch The Moon, by Malibu Moon

Color: Bay

Running style: Front-runner/stalker

Notes: Midnight Bourbon was bred in Kentucky by Stonestreet Farm and was a $525,000 yearling purchase at Keeneland in September of 2019 … His dam, Catch the Moon, was unraced but has produced three graded stakes winners, including Grade 1 winner Girvin … Asmussen has saddled two Travers starters, Pyro and Gun Runner, and has yet to be represented by a winner … Winchell Thoroughbreds has been represented by two Travers starters, both trained by Asmussen; both Pyro and Gun Runner finished third … Jockey Paco Lope rides in the Travers for the first time.

Margaret Ransom
California native and lifelong horsewoman Margaret Ransom is a graduate of the University of Arizona’s Race Track Industry Program. She got her start in racing working in the publicity departments at Calder Race Course and Hialeah Park, as well as in the racing office at Gulfstream Park in South Florida. She then spent six years in Lexington, KY, at BRISnet.com where she helped create and develop the company’s popular newsletters, Handicapper’s Edge and Bloodstock Journal.

After returning to California, she served six years as the Southern California news correspondent for BloodHorse, assisted in the publicity department at Santa Anita Park and and was a contributor to many other racing publications, including HorsePlayer Magazine and Trainer Magazine. She then spent seven years at HRTV and HRTV.com in various roles as researcher, programming assistant, producer and social media and marketing manager. She has also walked hots and groomed runners, worked the elite sales in Kentucky for top-class consignors and volunteers for several race horse retirement organizations, including CARMA.

Margaret’s very first Breeders’ Cup was at Hollywood Park in 1984 and she has attended more than half of the Breeders’ Cups since. She counts Holy Bull as her favorite horse of all time. She lives in Pasadena with her longtime beau, Tony, three Australian Shepherds and one Golden Retriever.