- Saturday’s Whitney Stakes at Saratoga is a Win and You’re In contest for the Breeders Cup Classic
- Many of the greatest horses in racing history have participated in The Whitney
- Tom’s d’Etat is the favorite in a competitive race, but is he the best betting value?
For years Saratoga has been known as the Graveyard of Favorites. Whether it be Thursday’s first race, or a grade one event on the weekend, an upset is always more than a possibility.
Saturday’s feature is more than just a big race. The Whitney Stakes was once declared by the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities as the top grade one race in the United States outside of the Breeders Cup. The IFHA ranked The Whitney and Kentucky Derby as equals.
In 1973 Onion beat Secretariat in The Whitney. What does that mean for favorite Tom’s d’Etat this year? He faces a strong field but is in terrific form.
Let’s examine the field for the Whitney, and determine who we can bet on to gain the most value.
2020 Whitney Stakes Odds
|Horse||Odds at Bet365|
|Code of Honor||+350|
|By My Standards||+550|
Odds taken Jul 29
The horses will go one-mile-and-an-eighth on the main track with the purse of $750,000. Post time is set for 5:42 pm EST. The race will be televised on Fox Sports 1.
You can’t be running much better than Tom’s d’Etat is right now. He’s won four straight races and the most recent, June’s Stephen Foster Stakes at Churchill Downs is perhaps the best effort of his 18 race career.
In the Stephen Foster he ran a then red hot By My Standards off the track. Two races ago, Tom’s d’Etat was too good for Improbable in the Oaklawn Mile. He has 11 career victories, and so long as his form remains at the level we have seen for the past nine months he’ll be very tough to beat.
When Improbable finished second to Tom’s d’Etat in April, it was his first race since finishing fifth in the Breeders Cup Dirt Mile. In early June he bounced back with a Grade 1 victory at Santa Anita.
The convincing win in the Gold Cup should give trainer Bob Baffert confidence that the four-year-old still has his best racing ahead of him. Four is often the age that horses mature, and any step forward will make Improbable very viable in The Whitney and going forward.
Code of Honor is also four years old, a winner of six out of 12 career races, this is his third race since a seventh-place performance in November’s Breeders Cup Classic. In June he won the Westchester Stakes.
The victory in the slop going around one turn was impressive, and there was nothing wrong with a third-place performance in the Metropolitan Handicap finishing behind an ultra-impressive Vekoma on July 4. Code of Honor has two grade one victories, including last year’s Travers Stakes at Saratoga.
Since running 11th in the Kentucky Derby, By My Standards has three impressive victories and a runner up in the Stephen Foster. Trainer Bret Calhoun has trained By My Standards to five wins, three seconds and a third in 10 career races.
It doesn’t seem likely that anybody is beating Tom’s d’Etat if he continues to run the way he has recently. However, maintaining that form is incredibly difficult. Improbable needs to make up several lengths in order to beat his rival. On the flip side, Code of Honor is all class, has run against stiff competition, won at The Spa last summer, and seems very viable at a reasonable price.
Pick: Code of Honor (+350)
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