By Kevin Martin

This Saturday’s Travers Stakes at the historic Saratoga Race Course in upstate New York is going to be a great betting race. The field of 12 colts includes nine graded stakes winners and the three victors of this year’s Triple Crown races. While the Classic winners will get the attention, the Travers field is full of talented and accomplished runners. Over half the colts in the field have a legitimate chance to win so the betting money will be spread wide and opportunities abound to cash a big ticket (or two).

>> MORE: Preview of the 2017 Travers Stakes

The $100 Bet

With a $100 bankroll, I will take $60 and put it on Good Samaritan’s nose to win. He exits an impressive win in last month’s Jim Dandy Stakes, also at Saratoga, where he made a powerful move in the stretch to beat Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming and Preakness winner Cloud Computing. The Jim Dandy was Good Samaritan’s first race on dirt after making all his previous career starts on turf. He replicated the fast closing move in the stretch that he displayed in every one of his previous races on turf. With the 1 1/4 mile distance of the Travers, expect him to run off the pace early and fly by the field late. At 5-1 on the morning line, he’ll offer sufficient value to justify a win bet.

I will use the remainder of my $40 bankroll on a trifecta bet that keys Good Samaritan in the win position and five horses boxed in the second and third position. I will include Always Dreaming, Cloud Computing, and Tapwrit, the three Triple Crown race winners, along with Irap and Looking at Lee. Irap has run two solid races since returning from a poor performance in the Kentucky Derby. Looking at Lee doesn’t win big races but he has placed in the top three in six of ten graded stakes in his career. To cash this trifecta bet, Good Samaritan needs to win and two of my five selections must finish second or third.

How to Place the Bet

When it comes to placing the wagers proposed here, it requires some knowledge in the language of betting on horse races. When placing a bet with a live teller at a racetrack or at an off-track betting facility, you need to use the track name, race number, type and amount of the bet, and the program number(s) for the horse(s) you are playing.

The $60 win bet is easy. To place that bet ask for the following:

“Saratoga race 11, $60 to win on the 5” (The Travers Stakes is the 11th race at Saratoga on Saturday and Good Samaritan is number five in the program.)

The $40 trifecta bet is a bit more complicated. That bet requires picking the top three finishers in the race. I will key Good Samaritan as the winner with five horses in the second and third position. The bet includes 20 possible combinations so the total cost of the bet for $2 is $40 ($2 bet x 20 combinations). That bet is placed as follows:

“Saratoga race 11, $2 trifecta, 5 with 1, 4, 7, 8, 10 with 1, 4, 7, 8, 10” (This translates to 5 in the win position and 1, 4, 7, 8, 10 in second and third place.)

Good luck!

Of course, it’s more fun to make your own picks. You can learn more about doing that at Hello Race Fans.

Kevin Martin is the founder of the thoroughbred racing history site Colin’s Ghost and a contributing editor at Hello Race Fans.

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