The 2014 Whitney Handicap is coming up and our preview of the potential entries in the field will let you know what to look for.
Saratoga's 2014 Whitney Handicap is a grade 1 race for horses 3 and up who want to compete for a chance at the lofty $1,500,000 purse. Entries into the Whitney Handicap will be running 9 furlongs (1 1/8 miles) on dirt when post time rolls around on Saturday, August 2nd. The winner of the Whitney Handicap will get a spot in the 2014 Breeders' Cup Classic so the potential field is full of promising horses looking for a shot at glory.
Notable recent winners of the Whitney Handicap include Fort Larned (won Breeders' Cup Classic) in 2013, Lawyer Ron (won Woodward Stakes) in 2007, Invasor (won Breeders' Cup Classic and Dubai World Cup) in 2006, Medaglia d'Oro (2nd in Dubai World Cup, Breeders' Cup Classic, and Belmont Stakes) in 2002, Lemon Drop Kid (won Belmont Stakes) in 2000, and Awesome Again (won Breeders' Cup Classic) in 1998.
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The field of potential entries into the 2014 Whitney Handicap looks strong, although it appears that Lea will not be among the contenders this time around. The recent winner of the Hal's Hope and the Don Handicap originally was pointed in this direction but it now appears that the Woodward Stakes is more likely. Without Lea the potential field for the Whitney Handicap sits at 7 horses currently and our preview of all of the entries is below.
2014 Whitney Handicap Preview - Field of Potential Entries:
Moreno - The pedigree is very impressive here as Moreno is sired by 2004 Breeders' Cup Classic winner Ghostzapper and 1992 Belmont Stakes and Breeders' Cup Classic winner A.P. Indy produced his dam. That being said, Moreno has not won over his last 8 races since winning the Dwyer Stakes right after breaking his maiden over a year ago. This horse has immense experience and has finished top 3 in strong fields over the last year but we'll have to see if he can finally get in the winner's circle at the Whitney Handicap.
Golden Ticket - This is another horse with a lengthy resume' but not very many wins. Golden Ticket has gone 8 races without winning after taking home top honors in the Prairie Meadows Handicap over a year ago. He can handle the Whitney Handicap distance and often finishes inside the top 4 but just hasn't displayed consistent form. Golden Ticket did finish 2nd to Goldecents in the 2013 Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile and has the potential to excel here.
Prayer for Relief - The pedigree here isn't anything special as his sire and dam have never won a race, but this underdog has some impressive finishes on his resume'. Prayer for Relief is fresh off a 3rd place finish in the Suburban Handicap where Moreno got by him at the end and has been in there against some of the bigger names in horse racing but hasn't been able to keep up lately when the competition is impressive.
Itsmyluckyday - Undefeated over his last 3 tries in the Salvator Mile, Majestic Light, and Best of the Rest, Itsmyluckyday will look to regain the form that saw him win the Holy Bull and Gulfstream Park Derby. The streaky horse was 15th in the Kentucky Derby but then showed off his promise with a 2nd place finish to Orb in the 2013 Preakness Stakes. Sired by previously mentioned Whitney Handicap winner Lawyer Ron, Itsmyluckyday will be one of the race favorites in 2014.
Departing - The 2013 Illinois Derby has had a strange journey to the Whitney Handicap after finishing 6th in the Preakness Stakes and then winning the West Virginia Derby and the Super Derby. Departing was 4th in the Oklahoma Derby and was strangely entered into a 1-mile allowance race which he won. His most recent action came during a 3rd place run in a strong Stephen Foster Handicap Field. It's interesting to note that Departing was very slow in his 1st place wins at 1 1/8 miles but has finished 3rd and 4th recently while posting career best times.
Will Take Charge - Your potential 2014 Whitney Handicap favorite has many impressive wins to his credit including the Oakland Handicap, Clark Handicap, Pennsylvania Derby, Travers Stakes, and Rebel Stakes. Will Take Charge was no better than 7th while running all 3 Triple Crown races in 2013 but has shown massive improvement lately and was 2nd in the Breeders' Cup Classic last year. He's finished 2nd or better in 10 of 11 races since the Belmont Stakes and will be a tough out at the Whitney Handicap.
Palace Malice - The 2013 Belmont Stakes winner is on a 4-race winning streak after grabbing victories in the Gulfstream Park Handicap, New Orleans Handicap, Westchester Stakes, and the Met Mile. Palace Malice has generally been stronger at a 1-mile distance but did take home the Jim Dandy Stakes last year over Will Take Charge and Moreno. Sired by 2007 Preakness Stakes, Breeders' Cup Classic, and Dubai World Cup winner Curlin, Palace Malice is not short on top-end pedigree.