We’ve got some big ticket races to look at today and none more so than Saratoga’s Whitney Stakes, a grade 1 race for 3 year olds and above over a mile and an eighth. The purse of $1.25m and a free entry for the winner to the Breeders’ Cup Classic has sadly only attracted 6 entries but the reason is pretty clear; Frosted has been entered for this race.
In his last race, Belmont Park’s Met Mile in June, Frosted put up a jaw-dropping performance when winning by 14 ¼ lengths in the fastest ever time recorded for that race. This earned him a stratospheric Beyer mark of 123. Not surprisingly, as a result, Frosted has been made the Morning Line favourite at 3/5 and it would be no surprise if the punters force his price even lower.
If Frosted runs to that level again, the race is a done deal. However, the opposition includes some very decent animals including Noble Bird and Effinex. Indeed Effinex finished in front of Frosted in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic and may be worth a small bet if the price on Frosted gets too ridiculous.
The Saratoga card includes another grade 1 race in the form of the Test Stakes, a 7 furlong race for 3 year old fillies worth a tasty $500,000. The Morning Line makes Off The Tracks and Kareena just about joint favourites at about the 8/5 mark and these two horses have very different profiles. Kareena has only had the three starts and has not been tested in graded racing let alone Grade 1 level while Off The Tracks is a seasoned campaigner at this level and won the Mother Goose by over 3 lengths.
On a line through Lightstream, Off The Tracks has the beating of Kareena but she is an improving filly and it is impossible to know where she stands ability-wise with the opposition in this good looking race. I would sit back and enjoy this race, which could give us some vital clues for the rest of the summer and, of course, the Breeders’ Cup.
For our final race today, we head to Mountaineer for the West Virginia Derby, a grade 2 race for 3 year olds over a mile and an eighth, worth a very handy $750,000. Before we look at the race, we should hand out plaudits to Mountaineer for putting on a great card. All the races are stakes race worth a minimum of $100,000. I hope they will be rewarded with a great crowd and some quality sport.
Twelve horses (though there may well be scatchings) face the starter for the West Virginia Derby and, in a competitive looking race, the Morning Line make Cupid the 3/1 favorite. He is always popular with the punters and it would be no surprise if he went off at shorter odds. He won the Indiana Derby last time out, wiring the field from a wide draw in 11. This time he is in stall number one. On a tight track like Mountaineer this could be a blessing or a minefield depending on whether he can get a clean break and set the fractions. If he doesn’t, he could well face a wall of horses.
Sometimes the inside is not the place to be at Mountaineer and I am going to field against him, even more so as I think he will be overbet. In a race full of talented individuals at this level, such as Economic Model, I am going for Suddenbreakingnews drawn in stall number 12. His fifth in the Kentucky Derby is very good form and he finished well that day with a difficult trip. There is plenty of pace potential in this race and Suddenbreakingnews is drawn to take full advantage.