Friday, August 5, 2016

Handicapper's Corner: Whitney Stakes (GI)

Staying Frosty in the 2016 Whitney Stakes (GI)

By:  Michael Amo, ThoroFan Chairman

Will the miss-fortunes of the Jim Dandy extend seven more days and affect the Whitney Stakes (GI)?  Not likely, but, remember Saratoga is known as the “Graveyard of Champions” for a reason. The great Secretariat met his undoing in the Whitney Stakes 43 Augusts ago on the very same track---the culprit was Onion, trained by the Hall of Fame trainer, H. Allen Jerkens. His son, James Jerkens will try to take down the favorite, Frosted, this year.

The task will be difficult, if not impossible. However, weather may be a factor. Forecasters are calling for a 20% change of rain which sounds like a wet track may be a factor if comes around post-time. The hourly predictions have rain coming in the morning with sun at post-time. If it becomes wet, El Kabeir, Noble Bird and Effinex pick-up points on the others who have never won on a wet track. 

Here is the field:

     El Kabeir  (Scat Daddy) likes the wet going and is coming of a key race in the Stephen Foster (GI). He is working bullets at Saratoga and gets a hot young jockey who wants to make a name for himself at Saratoga. Should be sitting mid-pack hoping the leaders collapse. Has to be cautious of being boxed-in on the rail.

     Comfort (Indian Charlie) has very competitive Beyer figures and a weight advantage. With no Grade One experience it may be asking a lot of him. Will be in the mix to the 16th pole.

     Upstart (Fatter) with three starts and two wins over the Saratoga course is a “Horse for the Course”.  Is working bullets for trainer Violette. Needs to regain his 2015 stakes form to win.

    Frosted (Tapit) is maturing at the right time. If he does anything near his 14 length win in the Metropolitan Handicap he will be tough to beat. Wants to show fans he is better than when he ran here last year in the Jim Dandy (2nd) and the Travers (3rd). Weather may be his only Achilles.

     Noble Bird (Birdstone) will be trying to make amends for his last year's performance in this race when he lost by 24 lengths. Expect him to be out early, assuring an honest pace. It is not likely that Effinex will let him control the race as Laoban did in last week’s Jim Dandy.
        Effinex (Mineshaft) raced perfectly in the Suburban Handicap at Belmont. It shows he has regained his form and has no problem with the distance.  The cross-country services of Mike Smith show the connections want the win and are ready to invest in it.

Frosted looks like the one to beat after his Suburban race on Belmont Stakes Day. El Kabeir is setting up for a good race. At such long odds he will add value to the ticket.

1.      Frosted  (# 4)
2.      El Kabeir (#1)
3.      Effinex  (#6)
4.      Upstart (#3)

$10 Exacta Box:  1 (El Kabeir),4 (Frosted),6  (Effinex) =  $60.00
$40 to Show on # 1 (El Kabeir)

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