- Saturday’s Whitney Stakes at Saratoga is a Win and You’re in Event for the Breeders Cup Classic
- The five horses entered have combined lifetime earnings of more than $12 million
- Where is betting value present in one of the top events of the summer?
Outside of the Triple Crown races and Breeders Cup, there are few bigger events on the horse racing calendar than Saturday’s Whitney Stakes at Saratoga.
One of the biggest upsets in sports history took place during The Whitney. In 1973 Onion upset Secretariat helping to solidify the moniker that The Spa is the “Graveyard of Favorites.”
This year’s small field is jam-packed with high-quality horses. While Knicks Go and Maxfield are the favorites, Silver State has won six straight. Swiss Skydiver is challenging the boys, which she did successfully in last year’s Preakness. Even By My Standards is viable, with seven wins and five-second place efforts in 16 career races.
Let’s look closely at the horses and odds and consider where value is present.
2021 Whitney Stakes Odds
|By My Standards||+1000|
Odds as of August 4th
The list of Whitney winners is a who’s who of Hall of Fame horses. From Easy Goer to Invasor, Alydar, and War Admiral, the best of the best run in The Whitney.
With a purse of $1 million and a berth in the Breeders Cup Classic on the line, it is surprising more horses didn’t enter. That said, the top horses in this field are so good, few others want to spend their time chasing and probably finishing behind them.
Improbable took The Whitney last year en route to being named the 2020 American Champion Older Dirt Male.
Fox Sports 2 has television coverage from upstate New York on Saturday. Post time is scheduled for 5:48 pm EST.
Knicks Go had a perfect 2020. He won lower-level races in Arkansas and Kentucky before taking the Breeders Cup Dirt Mile in November at Keeneland.
Last year Knicks Go made just over $600,000. This year, while winning two of four races, he has earned $3.49 million. He started the season with a victory in the Pegasus World Cup. He then finished fourth in a $20 million dollar race in Saudi Arabia. His return to the US was a disappointing off the board finish in the Met Mile. Last month he rebounded crushing a subpar field in Iowa.
Maxfield has won seven of eight career races and was poised to be a Kentucky Derby favorite last year before getting injured. He dominated June’s Stephen Foster Stakes at Churchill Downs.
The Foster was run at a mile and an eighth, the same distance The Whitney will be contested at.
Silver State was the upset winner of the Met Mile in June, beating Knicks Go and By My Standards going eight furlongs at Belmont Park.
A winner of six straight, Silver State is conditioned by Steve Asmussen, who will become the winningest trainer in racing history in the next several days. He won just one of his first five races but has matured after being given last summer off.
Swiss Skydiver has faced the boys twice. She was second in the Blue Grass Stakes last year, and then beat Authentic among others in October’s rescheduled Preakness Stakes.
After running seventh in the Breeders Cup Distaff against older fillies and mares in November, Swiss Skydiver won a stakes race in California in March. She was third in a Grade 1 races against females in April.
Last year By My Standards won four times in eight races though his final two races of the year were subpar. His 2021 debut was a good one.
After winning at Oaklawn, he finished a solid second behind Silver State and ahead of Knicks Go in the Met Mile. A return to his 2020 form puts him in the mix.
Whitney Stakes Best Bet
Each of the five horses has a reasonable chance, and when you consider betting value a serious argument.
Knicks Go has the top speed figures in the race. In fact, he has four Beyer Speed Figures higher than any number the rest of this group has posted. He also could be loose on the lead early on.
Maxfield has been waiting for this opportunity. After missing the Triple Crown last year, he has been working towards this Grade 1 race against top opponents. His only other Grade 1 race against older horses was his lone loss. He seems like a better horse now.
Silver State was facing lesser competition up until April. His last two victories are legitimate. If someone presses Knicks Go, he will be running hard late with a big shot.
Swiss Skydiver tends to be doubted. On more than one occasion she has proven the haters wrong. Unlike last year when she was exhausted by the end of the season, she is well-rested and ready for a top performance now.
By My Standards was competing favorably with top horses last summer. Did a strong second place in the Met Mile signal she is ready to resume that sort of form?
Silver State is running great and offers a price tempting enough to believe in.
Pick: Silver State (+400)