Commentator, the 8-year-old who Aug. 8 will attempt to become only the third horse in history to win the $750,000 Whitney Handicap (gr. I) three times, turned in another excellent work Aug. 1 at Saratoga, covering a half-mile in :47.85, handily.
The move, with exercise rider Maxine Correa up, was the second fastest of 19 at the distance, topped only by stablemate Da’ Tara (:47.55).
“Commentator was terrific, unbelievable,” said trainer Nick Zito, who saddled Commentator to victory in the 2005 and 2008 editions of the 1 1/8-mile Whitney. “It was nice and smooth, like silk. He was absolutely beautiful. Let’s hope he has a good week and a good day on Saturday.”
On July 23, Commentator turned in a bullet work at Saratoga, getting five furlongs in :59.12, breezing.
Kelso, who was 8 when he won his third Whitney in 1965, and Discovery, who won the race in 1935, 1936 and 1937, are the only other horses to accomplish the three-peat.
Zito added that Robert V. LaPenta’s Miner's Escape, scratched from the Aug. 1 Jim Dandy (gr. II), would instead be pointed toward an easier spot.
“The race came up very tough,” said Zito.
In other Saratoga news, among the six 2-year-old fillies entered in the fifth race Aug. 2, a six-furlong maiden event, is Chimayo, who fetched an eye-popping $3.1 million in the Keeneland September 2008 yearling sale.
Owned by Darley Stable and trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, the bay daughter of A.P. Indy out of the Elusive Quality mare Chimichurri has been in training at Saratoga, and in her most recent move breezed a bullet :59.03 over the artificial track at the Greentree Training Center July 27.
“She’s trained pretty much at Greentree all summer,” said McLaughlin. “But she’s very classy and she does everything right.”