You know it's a big day of racing at Saratoga Race Course when the first horse in the first race is Brooklyn Bobby, who will be the first 2-year-old by Frankel to race in the United States. Brooklyn Bobby is out of Balance, a multiple grade one-winning half-sister to Zenyatta.
Don't expect much of a price on a colt named after the late Bobby Frankel.
Whitney Day is the second-biggest day of the meet, and the 11-race card doesn't disappoint. There are four supporting stakes that include a typically competitive edition of the $500,000 Longines Test (gr. I), and three guaranteed exotic pools—a $400,000 pick five (1-5), a $250,000 pick six (6-11), and a $1 million late pick four (8-11).
Here's a look:
Whitney (race 10, 6:18 p.m. EDT)
Don't expect much of a price in the $1.25 million Whitney (gr. I) either, because Frosted is 3-5 on the morning line and could go lower than that against five opponents. The race offers a fees-paid berth to the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I).
Frosted unleashed a performance of historic proportions winning the Mohegan Sun Metropolitan Handicap by 14 1/4 lengths in 1:32.73 seconds—both stakes records. "Probably the biggest win I ever had for Godolphin for sure," said trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.
Frosted had 10 weeks off from the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) to the Met Mile and the time clearly served him well. He has had nearly two months to recover from the Met, and it's a good bet he'll be routed straight to the Classic from the Whitney, as McLaughlin did with 2006 Horse of the Year Invasor.
Four weeks ago, Jimmy Jerkens sent out Effinex to win the Suburban (gr. II) for the second straight year. He was the first horse to win back-to-back renewals of the race since his late father Allen Jerkens saddled Devil His Due in 1993-94.
In a testament to his longevity on horseback, Mike Smith rode Effinex last month—22 years after he was up for Devil His Due's 1994 Suburban score.
Effinex has earned $2,962,950 thus far. Were he to take down the $670,000 winner's share in the Whitney, he would vault past Funny Cide ($3,529,412) and A Shin Forward ($3,421,360) as the richest New York-bred of all-time; the latter, by the way, raced exclusively in Japan.
The late-blooming Comfort looms an interesting proposition if offered at his 8-1 morning-line or better. Although this is a big class jump from a win in the restricted State Dinner on July 4, Comfort has only lost once from five starts on dirt, when bothered early in last year's Lexington (gr. III). His trainer, Todd Pletcher, sent out Cross Traffic to win the 2013 Whitney in just his fifth career start. Last year, Liam's Map was making just his sixth start and his graded-stakes debut for Pletcher when run down in the last strides by Honor Code .
"It's a tough race but not a huge field, and we're taking a crack at it," said Pletcher. "Comfort is definitely an improving horse and sometimes those can be dangerous."
It's worth mentioning that Honor Code, like Frosted, had not run since winning the Met Mile.
In A-B-C style multi-race plays, Frosted is an "A" contender, obviously. But I've got to use Comfort and Effinex somewhere as well, either in the "B" or "C" slots.
Longines Test (race 8, 5:02 p.m.)
The Test is annually among the most entertaining races of the summer, and on paper this edition is no exception. Some kind of a case can be made for all eight 3-year-old fillies in the seven-furlong race.
While Kareena is stretching out from a win in the six-furlong Jersey Girl, her main foes are all turning back from 1 1/16 miles, including the top three finishers in the Mother Goose (gr. I), Off the Tracks, Lewis Bay and Lightstream.
According to the official chart, the Jersey Girl unfolded through fractions of 21.62, 43.55, 55.92 and 1:07.87 seconds—the final time a mere .21 seconds off the Belmont Park track record set by champion sprinter Artax in 1999. However, another source available on the NYRA site recorded the race in the somewhat more plausible times of 22.30, 45.30, 56.69 and 1:08.69.
Either way, Kareena is fast. She attempts to follow in the footsteps of Cavorting, who collected a Jersey Girl-Test double a year ago.
I have it this way: A—Kareena, Off the Tracks; B—Lewis Bay, Lightstream
Three supporting stakes scheduled for turf—the Fasig-Tipton Lure (7th, 4:25 p.m.), the Fasig-Tipton Waya (9th, 5:40 p.m.) and the Fasig-Tipton De La Rose (11th, 6:54 p.m.)—promise to have handicappers burning the midnight oil.
Chad Brown entered the trio of Shining Copper, March, and Offering Plan in the Lure. However, the rebound play may be Full Mast, a Juddmonte Farms homebred colt who sparkled winning his U.S. debut off a layoff of nearly 11 months, before running into some traffic as the favorite in the King Edward (gr. IIT) at Woodbine.
Brown has Ball Dancing and Guapaza in the Waya (gr. IIIT), a race he won last year with Goldy Espony, while Christophe Clement takes aim with two foreign-breds, Desiree Clary and Trophee, the latter a half-sister to dual Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (gr. IT) winner Treve. Juddmonte could have a say in this race too, as Suffused resurfaces here after being scratched from the Robert G. Dick Memorial (gr. IIIT) when Delaware Park's state-approved veterinarian failed to show for her scheduled Lasix injection.
The late pick four and pick six end with a dozen fillies and mares negotiating two sharp turns on the inner turf in the De La Rose. Zindaya looks fastest, but she may vulnerable stretching out beyond her comfort zone in the six-to-seven furlong range, especially from post 10.
In addition to Zindaya, Chad Brown also entered Roca Rojo, an Irish-bred import who is 3-for-3 after taking her U.S. bow with an explosive stretch run. She has the benefit of the rail post with a short run to the initial bend, and will of course need some racing luck getting through a crowd. This looks like a very logical next step for her.