The Grade I, $1.2 million Whitney Stakes takes center stage at Saratoga this Saturday. A field of seven will go at it over 1 1/8-miles on the main oval. GUN RUNNER leads the way at 4-5, though circumstances would indicate that this Whitney is a much more wide-open affair. It goes as Race 9 on a stacked 11-race card; post time is estimated at 5:46 p.m. EST. Be sure to take part in FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game!
#6 GUN RUNNER has two wins this year, both at odds-on against overmatched competition on fast dirt. While his speed figures make him a deserving favorite, he could be vulnerable on Saturday. The weather forecast calls for significant rain which may muddy the racing surface. GUN RUNNER has failed to hit the board in two off-track starts to date, so he would clearly prefer a fast track. He and Florent Geroux will also have competition up front from #3 CAUTIOUS GIANT, a rabbit entered for #1 WAR STORY, and #4 TU BRUTUS. An upset appears to be in the cards.
#5 KEEN ICE (3-1) has already orchestrated one monumental upset at Saratoga; the 2015 Travers over American Pharoah. It looks like he’ll get a similar pace setup, which he certainly needs as he lacks early speed. KEEN ICE exits one of his best career performances, a romping score in the Grade II Suburban Handicap. The only thing working against KEEN ICE in the Whitney is the distance; his 1 1/8-mile record is 6-0-1-1. Jose Ortiz has the call for Todd Pletcher.
#1 WAR STORY (6-1) easily handled the competition in the Grade II Brooklyn at 1 1/2-miles last time out. This is a much tougher assignment, but Javier Castellano sees fit to stay aboard. WAR STORY should get enough pace to close into and is in the ballpark speed-figure wise.
The play: $4 exacta box 5/6, $2 exacta 5,6/1 ($12)
DFJ analysis: Jose Ortiz has some solid stakes mounts, including Suffused in the Waya, American Gal in the Test, On Leave in the De La Rose and KEEN ICE in the Whitney. He also has some good MTO mounts lined up, so if races get washed off turf he’ll be a “must-have.”
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