Multiple graded stakes winner Albert the Great is out to prove his greatness when he takes on seven rivals in Saturday's $750,000 Whitney Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga Race Course. The Nick Zito-trained Albert the Great will carry 124 pounds under jockey Jorge Chavez in the 1 1/8-mile event.
In his two previous starts for owner Tracy Farmer, Albert the Great has made easy work of his rivals by knocking off rivals all rivals in the Brooklyn Handicap and the Suburban Handicap, both grade II at Belmont Park.
Albert the Great sailed to victory by a 5 1/2 lengths in the two graded stakes events. In total, he has eight victories, including five added-money scores, in 18 career starts with earnings totaling $2.06 million.
Looking to challenge Albert the Great will be James Tafel's Unshaded, who finished a disappointing fifth in the Suburban July 1, carrying 117 pounds, six less than the winner. In the Whitney, Albert the Great will carry 124 pounds, nine more than Unshaded. The other five starters will carry from 113 to 115.
Unshaded has made three starts this year, winning his first start of the year in a May allowance contest, followed by a fifth place finish in the grade II Stephen Foster Handicap June 16 at Churchill Downs.
Pleasant Breeze, who will carry 114 pounds, posted four wins and three seconds in eight starts in the last three years at Saratoga. One of the wins was in the 1 1/8-mile Saratoga Breeders' Cup Handicap last year.
The field for the $750,000 grade I Whitney Handicap includes: Pleasant Breeze (Edgar Prado, 114); Perfect Cat (Richard Migliore, 113); Lido Palace (Jerry Bailey, 115); Elite Mercedes (John Velazquez, 112); Unshaded (Pat Day, 115); Gander (Shaun Bridgmohan, 113); and Albert the Great (Jorge Chavez, 124).