The Whitney Stakes, a Tier I stake for kids 4 and older, will be held at 1 1/8 miles on Saturday at Saratoga Racetrack. Our horse racing expert delivers his top picks for the race, which takes place at 5:43 p.m. ET and will be broadcast by NBC.
Whitney Stakes pick
To win – (6) Life is beautiful (6-5)
Square – (4) Olympiad (2-1)
Spectacle – (1) American Revolution (5-1)
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Living life at the top
This year’s Whitney, one of Saratoga’s main events, may be renamed Todd Pletcher Invitational.
Pletcher has three of the six entrants in the race, including the morning line favorite Life is Beautiful.
One thing is certain, Life Is Good will go straight ahead. He did it in his nine races and stayed there in all but two of his starts. One came here last year when he was beaten in a sprint race by fellow star Jackie’s Warrior. The other defeat came at this year’s Dubai World Cup, when he found 1 ¼ miles a bit too far for his liking.
His previous race, the Pegasus World Cup, was 1 1/8 miles on Saturday at Gulfstream and he had no trouble staying ahead. Life Is Good took victory in this nine-horse field, which included Breeders Cup Classic winner Knicks Go.
There doesn’t seem to be another speed horse that can challenge Life Is Good for the top spot. He prepared for this event with a sprint victory at Belmont Park, beating a very good opponent at Speaker’s Corner. Pletcher has won this stake three times, most recently with Cross Traffic in 2013. He has yet another trip to the winner’s circle.
Looking for a six-bagger for 2022
Olympiad ran his first three lifetime races at Saratoga but made his mark at tracks outside of New York.
Under the management of Bill Mott, Olympiad won five consecutive two-round races, including four graduated stakes. He captured the Grade 3 Mineshaft at the New Orleans Fairgrounds, then took a trio of Grade 2 victories – the New Orleans Classic at the Fairgrounds and the Alysheba and Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs.
In each of these events, jockey Junior Alvarado used the same tactic. He put his mount in second position at the start, then pushed it forward at the start of the stretch. All of these scaled betting wins were more than two lengths.
Olympiad will continue Life Is Good all around Saturday. The reason the streak is likely to be cut short is that he didn’t have to nab a favorite with the championship resume that Life Is Good possesses.
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Time for a breakthrough result?
The American Revolutionthe stablemate of Life Is Good, should take a land-saving trip after pulling the rail.
This colt finished second at the Olympiad in the Stephen Foster with the third horse three lengths further. It was only the second start of the year for the American Revolution and he could be set for a career best effort on Saturday.
The student from New York knows Saratoga well. He won a national race stakes race at this distance on Saratoga dirt last year by a wide margin.
His greatest achievement to date came at Aqueduct in December when he rallied to win the Grade 1 Cigar Mile. It was also the last time the Olympiad was defeated, with Mott’s colt finishing fourth.
The American Revolution won’t back down too far but it will be hard to catch up to its stable mate unless a speed duel develops between the two best horses.