Short but star-studded field aligned for Alfred G. Vanderbilt

The Grade I, $250,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap is the Saturday feature at Saratoga. The six-furlong sprint drew just five horses, but it is an incredibly deep and talented field. Post time for this highly-anticipated renewal of the Vanderbilt is 6:16 p.m. ET.

#4 VOLATILE (4-5, morning-line favorite) has been brought along steadily since breaking his maiden at Ellis Park last July, and patience has paid off. The Steve Asmussen trainee has run off the screen in each of his last two efforts, including the Aristides Stakes at Churchill last time out. VOLATILE has trained superbly at Saratoga, drilling a bullet over five furlongs on July 13. Ricardo Santana Jr. just has to keep this gifted son of Violence out of trouble to post the score.

#2 WHITMORE (2-1) rounded back into form at his favorite track, Oaklawn, over the winter. The seven-year-old son of Pleasantly Perfect took both the Hot Springs Stakes and the Grade III Count Fleet Sprint Handicap. He hasn’t raced since that April heat, but he’s working smartly for Ron Moquett. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Joel Rosario will pick up the ride on WHITMORE in lieu of Joe Talamo. WHITMORE has made only one prior trip to “The Spa,” but it was a win in the Grade I Forego.

#5 MIND CONTROL (6-1) will be rolling late in this one under John Velazquez. His latest effort over a very sloppy track at Belmont in the Grade I Carter should be totally disregarded. Prior to that start he’d won three straight stakes races, including the Grade I H. Allen Jerkens over this course. MIND CONTROL is 2-for-2 lifetime at the six-furlong trip, though he’s been campaigned primarily at seven panels.

The play: $8 exacta 4/2, $4 exacta 4/5, $4 exacta 2/4 ($16)

Follow me on Twitter: @itsgood2beking