Brent Sedo | Sat 05/08/2017 - 04:03 EDT

2017 The Whitney Stakes Picks

2017 The Whitney Stakes Picks

Whitney Stakes Preview and Odds

One of the best US-based thoroughbreds over the past couple of seasons leads the expected field of seven runners into the $1.2 million Whitney in the form of heavy morning line favorite Gun Runner (4-5). The third-place finisher in the 2016 Kentucky Derby has been one of racing's most consistent performers since then, with four wins and eight in-the-money finishes in his last nine races.

Most recently he was seen blowing away the field in the (G1) Stephen Foster Handicap, taking command immediately out of the gate and going on to cruise to a seven-length win. Prior to that he finished second to superstar Arrogate in the Dubai World Cup, and prior to that he kicked off the 2017 season with a win in the (G2) Razorback Handicap. He's a well-deserving favorite here, and an obvious play in any multi-race wagers.

Others Have an Outside Chance

That being said, we're not quite halfway through the Saratoga summer meet, and we've already seen a few big upsets at the "Graveyard of Favorites", so in a pretty solid field there is a case to be made for a couple others. 

One that knows how to win at Saratoga in upset fashion is Keen Ice (3-1) who pulled an absolute shocker back in 2015 when he beat Triple Crown champion American Pharoah in the Travers Stakes that year. Following that, he was competitive - but winless - in 10 straight starts, but does have a win in his last race, where he beat the very good Shaman Ghost by three lengths in the (G2) Suburban Handicap at Belmont Park. 

    Another in good form lately is War Story (8-1) who scored his first lifetime graded-stakes win last out in taking the (G2) Brooklyn Invitational over a tough field at Belmont Park in early June. Like many in here, however, his best efforts seem to come at longer distances, and by the time he gets running this 1 1/8 mile contest might be over. 

    An intriguing choice is Chilean-bred Tu Brutus (8-1) who will be making his fourth US start after 17 career races in his native country. He has been in the money in all three of those starts, and in his initial US effort, the (G3) Excelsior Stakes, he led from the gate and was only just beaten a head at the wire by Send It In, who has been dominant at the lower stakes level in New York.

    Following that he scored a win in the ungraded Flat Out Stakes at Belmont, and then ran third in the Brooklyn Invitational, a race he led at the mile marker. He's one of the few in the field who shoud appreciate a cut-back in distance from his last start, and could provide Gun Runner with an early speed challenge.

    Outside of those, Breaking Lucky (8-1) is a hard-trying colt with more than $1 million in lifetime earnings in the bank, but all three of his career wins - from 20 lifetime starts - have come in his native Canada, and it's hard to see him breaking that streak here. 

    The last two in the field are rank outsiders, with Discreet Lover (25-1) and Cautious Giant (30-1) hoping for a minor award at best. This first is a four-year-old Florida bred who already has 28 starts but has yet to get a stakes win of any type, while the second has an equal number of starts as a six year old, and some solid graded-stakes experience, but no wins above the allowance level. 

    The Whitney Stakes goes Saturday from Saratoga Race Course, the ninth race of a solid card of 10, immediately following the (G1) Test Stakes. Expected post time is 5:46 PM Eastern, and you can bet the race with an account in one of our recommended online racebooks. 

    Entries w/ ML Odds

    1. War Story (6-1)
    2. Breaking Lucky (8-1)
    3. Cautious Giant (30-1)
    4. Tu Brutus (8-1)
    5. Keen Ice (3-1)
    6. Gun Runner (4-5)
    7. Discreet Lover (25-1)

    BABB Picks

    • #1 - Gun Runner
    • #2 - Tu Brutus
    • #3 - Keen Ice
    • #4 - War Story

    Category : Betting Picks

    Tag : Horse Racing

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