The $1.5 million Whitney (gr. I) (Aug. 2)—the richest race this summer at Saratoga Race Course—has attracted a robust field of likely starters, topped by last year's Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner, Palace Malice .
Undefeated in four starts this year, the 4-year-old Curlin colt has impressive victories in the Gulfstream Park Handicap (gr. II), the New Orleans Handicap (gr. II), the Westchester (gr. III), and most recently the Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I) June 7.
According to NYRA stakes coordinator Andrew Byrnes, a solid group is probable to line up alongside the Dogwood Stable color-bearer in the 1 1/8-mile "Win and You're In" Breeders' Cup Challenge race.
They are last year's 3-year-old champion colt, Will Take Charge ; Departing, third in the Stephen Foster (gr. I) at Churchill Downs last time out; Golden Ticket , who memorably dead-heated to win the 2012 Travers (gr. I) at Saratoga; Itsmyluckyday , winner of three straight stakes, including the Salvator Mile (gr. III); and Zivo , Moreno, Prayer for Relief , and Romansh, who were first, second, third and fifth, respectively, in the Suburban Handicap (gr. II) July 5 at Belmont Park.
There are two other grade I races on the Aug. 2 card.
A field of seven sprinters appears likely for the $350,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap, including Capo Bastone , winner of the 2013 King's Bishop (gr. I); Palace , who won the True North (gr. II) June 6 and next finished second in the Belmont Sprint Championship (gr. III); Bahamian Squall , most recently third in the Housebuster at Gulfstream Park; the lightly raced Bakken, second by three-quarters of a length to Palace in the True North; Happy My Way, winner of four of his last five starts, including the Maryland Sprint Handicap (gr. III); Salutos Amigos, third in the Belmont Sprint Championship, and Vyjack, whose lone victory in three 2014 starts was an optional claimer at Aqueduct Racetrack in January.
Falling Sky and Lemon Drop Dream are questionable.
TVG Acorn (gr. I) winner Sweet Reason heads a probable field of 10 3-year-old fillies in the $500,000 Longines Test Stakes at seven furlongs. The Street Sense filly, already 2-for-2 at the Spa including the Spinaway (gr. I), is expected to face Bird Maker, an 11 1/4-length optional claiming winner at Churchill Downs last time out.
Others expected in the Test are Fiftyshadesofgold, most recently fourth in the Acorn; graded stakes winner Miss Behaviour; Princess Violet, second to Untapable in the Mother Goose (gr. I); Southern Honey, unraced since taking the Winning Colors (gr. III) against older in May at Churchill; Victory Ride winner Street Story; Acorn runner-up Sweet Whiskey; Mid-Atlantic shipper Tea Time, winner of the Beautiful Day at Delaware Park last time out, and Thank You Marylou.
Delta Flower is questionable.