Hall of Fame trainer Nick Zito gave every credit to Commentator after the 7-year-old gelding won his second Whitney Handicap (gr. I) by 4 ¾ lengths over Student Council and Grasshopper July 26 at Saratoga. Zito was thrilled that the New York-bred, owned by Tracy Farmer, can now be counted alongside multiple Whitney winner Kelso.
"This was one of our main goals," Zito said in a release from the New York Racing Association. "After he won the Richter Scale by 13 lengths, there were a lot of good races to look ahead at. Then Mr.(Tracy) Farmer and I talked about winning the Whitney again. With the tradition of the Whitney, him winning the race again in three years, and now being in the circle of the likes of Kelso, it was great."
With Commentator's Whitney victory, part of the Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" series, he is now guaranteed entry in the $5-million Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) at Santa Anita Oct. 25. Among the races Zito is considering for Commentator is the $500,000 Massachusetts Handicap for older horses running nine furlongs at Suffolk Downs on Sept. 20.
Trainer Steve Asmussen did not suggest any future plans for Millennium Farms' multiple grade I winner Student Council after he finished second in the Whitney.
"I was pleased with his effort," Asmussen said. "He ran hard and well. We'll evaluate him and discuss it with the owners and see what is best for him. I think he is an elite horse."
Copper State, also owned by Millennium Farms, followed with another strong second-place finish in the Go For Wand.
"I think this was a big jump forward for our mare; she got beat by a champion," Asmussen said. "This establishes who she is. She's solid. Now, we just want to get that effort in a spot where she can win."
Grasshopper, who finished third in the Whitney, looked good the morning after the race, said trainer Neil Howard.
"He came out good," said Howard. "Nothing is definite yet (for the future). We're going to wait a little while, make sure he's doing well in the next couple weeks."
When asked if the Woodward (gr. I) at Saratoga Aug. 30th was a possibility, Howard replied, "Sure. We'll keep all our options open and kind of get a feel of what everyone else is doing and then make a decision. But not right away, though."