Travers Stakes 2012: Golden Ticket's Performance in Saratoga Is a Fluke

Richard LangfordCorrespondent IAugust 25, 2012

Photo Credit: Erica Miller
Photo Credit: Erica Miller

Golden Ticket rushed out to a nice lead in the 143rd running of the Travers Stakes and held on for an improbable dead-heat finish. 

Dead heats are few and far between in Grade 1 races, and this is the first in the history of this race. Golden Ticket is not complaining. 

To hold onto this tie for first, Golden Ticket had to keep the hard-charging pre-race favorite, Alpha, from overtaking him. Golden Ticket was anything but a favorite.

The good folks at Fox tweeted out the results and the kind of odds we were looking at. 

The 2012 #Travers Stakes has two winners: Golden Ticket (33-1) and Alpha (2-1) both could not be separated at the wire, Dead Heat to win!

— Fox Sports 1230 WMML (@WMML1230) August 25, 2012

Winning the Travers Stakes is typically either a reaffirmation of greatness, or a strong sign of things to come for a horse on the rise. This year it was neither. 

This tweeter gets to the root of the problem. 

Exciting Travers Stakes, but a bad group of horses. A healthy Paynter would have destroyed this field.

— Steven Falk (@smfalk) August 25, 2012

This was a dull field in a race that is used to having the best 3-year-olds going. This year, injuries and retirement have left this race scrounging for scraps, which is why Golden Ticket was in the field. 

This lightly accomplished horse earned his first victory earlier this year on February 11, and started getting some buzz about running in the Kentucky Derby, but he couldn't seize on his momentum. 

This was a great win for Golden Ticket, but that doesn't mean he is a great horse. He ran well against a mediocre field, and he did not do anything out of character to earn the win—there just wasn't another horse with enough to beat him. 

This is not going to become a trend; it will be the high point of a decent career.