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OffTrackBetting.com - Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, New York will be the scene of the Grade 1 Whitney Stakes on Saturday, August 6. Horses three years old and upward will take to Saratoga's fort track and race 1 1/8 miles searching for the winner's share of the $1.25 million purse.
A strong field of six will take to the track in the Whitney Stakes race 10 on Saratoga's packed Saturday card. Post time is 6:18 PM. Here is a peek into the past performances of all six entries for this intriguing Grade 1 stakes.
Frosted 3-5 - Kiaran McLaughlin trained colt put his name on the map early in his career with a couple of good runner-up finishes - as 9-5 favorite in the 2014 Grade 2 Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct and in the Grade 2 Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream January 24, 2015. He finished seventh in the 2015 Breeders' Cup Classic and took his skills to UAE where he won a Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge February 4 of this year and finished fifth in the UAE Derby as second betting choice. His only other start in 2016 was arguably his most impressive result to date - a win by 14 1/4 lengths with a 109 BRIS Speed rating in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont Park over many of his Whitney foes June 11. Other good results include a win in last year's Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby, a third behind Keen Ice and American Pharoah in the 2015 Grade 1 Travers Stakes August 29 and had consecutive runner-up finishes last year - in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy Stakes and behind American Pharoah in the Belmont Stakes. He also had a troubled fourth in the Kentucky Derby and a huge statement with a win by two lengths in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct last April 4. Frosted has been in there with some of the best in the world and has fared well in those races. He is definitely the one to catch after his ultra-impressive win last time out. Joel Rosario has been tabbed to ride the morning line favorite and 120 pound top weight from gate 4.
Effinex 7-2 - Eclipse Award finalist for Older Male had eight starts last year for trainer James Jerkins - four wins - the Grade 1 Clark Handicap November 11, the Grade 1 Suburban Handicap, the Grade 3 Excelsior Stakes at Aqueduct in April and an Allowance Optional Claiming in March. He also had a good runner-up finish behind some horse named America Pharoah in the Breeders' Cup Classic October 31 and a third in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup October 3 - with a DNF in the Grade 2 Brooklyn Invitational and a fourth in the Grade 1 Woodward Stakes sprinkled in there. He enters off yet another win - the Grade 1 Suburban Handicap at Belmont Park July 9 which followed his worst result in a while - a sixth as favorite in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs June 18, a victory in the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap in April and a third in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap in March. Effinex now has nine wins, two seconds and four third place finishes in 24 career and has won three of his last five starts overall (all graded stakes). Mike Smith will be in the saddle of the morning line second choice from gate 6 looking to make it two impressive wins in a row.
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Comfort 8-1 - Todd Pletcher trained colt has four wins in seven career starts and enters this race having posted three straight victories. Last time out it was in the minor State Dinner Stakes at Belmont Park July 4 after two straight Allowance Optional Claiming scores and a fifth in his only graded stakes action to date - the Grade 3 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland in April, 2015. Comfort has definitely been trending upward ahead of this weekend and will be after his first ever graded stakes score from gate 2 with John Velazquez in the saddle.
Noble Bird 10-1 - defending ninth place finisher in this race Mark Casse pupil looked great at the beginning of last summer - he won two Allowance Optional Claiming races, finished second in the Grade 2 Alysheba Stakes at Churchill Downs in May, 2015 and went on to win the Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs in June. He wasn't great after that before a terrific win two starts back in the Grade 3 Pimlico Special May 20 - a result that was followed by a disappointing sixth last time out in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont Park June 11.The year he's also had a last of eight, as favorite in the Grade 2 Alysheba Stakes at Churchill Downs May 6, an OK second in the Grade 3 Ben Ali Stakes at Keeneland April 14 and a sixth in an Allowance Optional Claiming in February. Noble Bird has been impressive in the past but has delivered two duds and one good effort in his last three starts overall. Julien Leparoux rides from post 5 hoping to gain a little consistency.Upstart 10-1 - Richard Violette trained colt has just three starts in 2016 - an OK third last time out in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap June 11 followed a fifth in the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap April 16 and a good win in the Grade 3 Razorback Handicap March 19. He finished an OK third behind American Pharoah in the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational August 2 and followed that with a fourth in the Grade 1 Travers Stakes at Saratoga August 29. He also had a disappointing last of eighteen in last year's Kentucky Derby and consecutive seconds - in the Grade 1 Florida Derby March 28, 2015 and after crossing the line first and being disqualified in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes February 2. Upstart showed his form with a dominant win by 5 1/2 lengths in the competitive Grade 2 Holy Bull Stakes January 24, 2015 and also owns a good third in the 2014 Breeders' Cup Juvenile as well. He has placed in 10 of 14 career starts (four wins, three seconds and three third place finishes) and has hit the board in two of his last three overall. Irad Ortiz will be in charge of this previously solid contender from post 3.
El Kabeir 20-1 - John Terranova trained colt was on the Kentucky Derby trail in 2015 before injury set him back. He posted wins in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes in November, 2014 and the Grade 3 Jerome Stakes last January and went on to a second in the Grade 3 Withers Stakes in February, a win in the Grade 3 Gotham Stakes in March and a third in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial Stakes in April - pretty good before being sent to the sidelines for nearly seven months. He returned to action October 31 and finished fifth in the Grade 3 Bold Ruler Handicap October 31 and rediscovered his winning ways in the minor City of Laurel Stakes November 14. He has failed to place in his last four starts however - a fourth last time out in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs June 18 followed a seventh in the Grade 2 Dixie Stakes at Pimlico May 21, another seventh in the Grade 2 San Antonio Stakes at Santa Anita February 6 and a fourth in the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita December 26. El Kabeir now has five wins, two seconds and two third place finishes in 15 career starts and enters in inconsistent form. Ricardo Santana will try to right the ship from the rail Saturday.
Race 10 on Saratoga's Saturday card with a Post Time of 6:18 PM.
|1||El Kabeir||20-1||Ricardo Santana, Jr.||John Terranova, II|
|2||Comfort||8-1||John Velazquez||Todd Pletcher|
|3||Upstart||10-1||Irad Ortiz, Jr.||Richard Violette, Jr.|
|4||Frosted||3-5||Joel Rosario||Kiaran McLaughlin|
|5||Noble Bird||10-1||Julien Leparoux||Mark Casse|
|6||Effinex||7-2||Mike Smith||James Jerkens|
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