Top Handicap Horses Battle in Whitney Handicap at Saratoga

Some of the top handicap horses in the United States will battle in the Grade I Whitney Handicap at Saratoga on Saturday, August 6.  The Whitney Handicap, a win and you’re in for the late fall’s Breeders Cup Classic, will most likely garner a field of eleven.

Although Grade II Suburban winner Flat Out and Met Mile winner Tizway will no doubt receive plenty of action from horseplayers, the favorite right before the gates open in the Whitney Handicap is yet to be determined.  Flat Out, trained by Charles Dickey and sired by former great Flatter, appears to be finally coming into his own and should be considered a top contender.  Tizway, a Tiznow sired horse trained by H. James Bond, was fantastic when winning the Met Mile in late May.

Morning Line for the $750,000 Whitney Invitational Handicap @Saratoga on Saturday, August 6, 2011

  1. Flat Out  7/2
  2. Friend or Foe  6/1
  3. Morning Line  7/1
  4. Giant Oak  5/1
  5. Tizway  6/1
  6. Mission Impaziable  5/1
  7. Rail Trip  10/1
  8. Headache  16/1
  9. Rodman  20/1
  10. Apart  6/1
  11. Duke of Mischief  6/1

But neither Flat Out nor Tizway will scare away the competition on Saturday.  Albert Stall Jr. saddles Apart in the Whitney.  The Grade II winner was last seen finishing third in the Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs on July 18.  Stall is no stranger to the Whitney Handicap. The trainer used Blame’s victory in the Whitney in 2010 to springboard the horse to an upset over Zenyatta in the 2010 Breeders Cup Classic. 

A big race at Saratoga wouldn’t be complete with at least one entrant from the Todd Pletcher barn.  The best trainer in the United States satisfies that requirement on August 6 by entering Mission Impazible in the Whitney Handicap.  Mission Impazible has been brilliant at times, like when the horse won the Grade II New Orleans Handicap over Apart and Giant Oak, and plain horrible, like when he finished sixth to the now retired First Dude in the Grade III Alysheba at Churchill Downs.  Pletcher is hoping that the brilliant Mission Impazible shows up on Saturday.

Pros Giant Oak, Friend Or Foe, Rail Trip and Duke of Mischief cannot be counted out of the Whitney.  Giant Oak put together back-to-back Grade I victories when winning the Clark Handicap last fall and then taking home the Donn Handicap this past February.  Friend Or Foe won the Easy Goer Stakes at Belmont Park in early June and Rail Trip, who finished second to Friend Or Foe in the Easy Goer, owned the handicap division on the West Coast in 2009 and 2010 winning the Grade I Hollywood Gold Cup in 2009 and taking home top honors in the Mervyn Leroy and Californian in 2010.  Then, there’s Duke of Mischief who won the Grade III Charles Town Classic this past April and always seems to put in a decent run in any race in which he’s entered.  Duke of Mischief finished fourth in the Stephen Foster Handicap, behind Mission Impazible and Apart, in his last.

Headache, winner of the Grade III Cornhusker on June 25, and Hymn Book, who finished second to Flat Out in the Suburban, will have their fans on Saturday, but the most intriguing horse in the race might be Rodman.

The Michael Hushion trainee has shown flashes of brilliance in 2011 but, for some reason, just hasn’t been able to put it altogether just yet.  The horse, who finished second to Tizway in the Met Mile, could take a huge leap forward in one of America’s top races of the summer.  Rodman’s connections, and fans, will be counting on the Malibu Moon sired six-year-old to finally take a coveted Grade I trophy home on August 6 in the Whitney Handicap.