Applebee: Closer Look Whitney/Test Sat 8.5.23
Happy Whitney Day!
This is a fantastic card with four graded stakes races including three Grade 1s. While the Whitney and Test headline the day, don’t overlook the Troy Stakes where the awesome mare Caravel takes on the boys again as she aims to continue her domination of the turf sprint division.
Trivia Question: Only two horses have won the Whitney Stakes three times – who was the most recent horse to achieve this feat?
Race 8 – The Test – Grade I
Seven Furlongs on the Dirt, For Three Year Old Fillies
- Pretty Mischievous: Divisional leader of three year old fillies after narrow wins in the Kentucky Oaks (92 Beyer) and Acorn (96 Beyer). Turns back to seven furlongs today. Stalk and pounce type who is tactical. She should get plenty of pace today. Has never finished off the board in her career winning six of eight starts. However, she does not lay over this field and will need to work a trip from the one hole as she may get shuffled back. Gets a piece.
- Clearly Unhinged: Ships in from So Cal for Mike McCarthy off a win in a N1X race where she battled back on the inside against the favorite (85 Beyer). That followed the Santa Anita Oaks at eight and half furlongs where she faded in the stretch – the turnback definitely suited her last time. Needs to be faster to compete. Passing.
- Tappin Josie: Most recent three starts were against Pennsylvania state breds. In both of her last two races she was at the back of the pack and came running late but didn’t get there with Beyers of 57 and 62. Was competitive in the Cicada at the Big A in March (77 Beyer) in a career best performance. Speed figs don’t measure up over her fourteen starts. Looking elsewhere.
- Jersey Pearl: Makes her first attempt in graded stakes action today after winning her last two races on dirt. Last time she wired a field of elders at Ellis Park in an N3X race at 3/5 (93 Beyer). She faces much tougher (and faster) horses today. Lasix comes OFF. Would be an upset.
- Interpolate: Chad/Klaravich entry comes in off a distant fourth in the Victory Ride – but a stumble at the start compromised her. Two back she was better in the Beaumont with a close up second (91 Beyer). Needs to take a step forward to score here. Underneath in exotics.
- Dorth Vader: She’s danced all the dances this year but hasn’t won since the Davona Dale back in February. Finished behind Pretty Mischievous in her last two starts including a head bob in the Acorn (96 Beyer). That Acorn performance was very game where she almost ran down Pretty Mischievous. Should get a pace set up and sit a trip off the speed. Firing bullets in the a.m. over the Saratoga main track. All systems go. The Pick.
- Munnys Gold: Won her first three starts against Florida breds before moving to open company in Eight Belles where she got to the lead but was bested at the wire (92 Beyer). In the Acorn she led but couldn’t handle Dorth Vader and Pretty Mischievous late on. Gets the turnback today. Performances have declined since Lasix came off two back. Potential for a speed duel. Possible piece.
- Maple Leaf Mel: New York bred is undefeated in five career starts and has progressed from state bred company to two straight Grade III victories. He style is pretty simple – break alertly and take them all the way. However there are some other quick ones in here and a speed duel is definite possibility. In the Victory Ride (99 Beyer) Mel was dominate and barely asked by Rosario. Two for two over this surface. Win candidate.
Race 10 – The Whitney Stakes – Grade I
One Mile and One Furlong On the Dirt, For Four Year Olds and Upward
- Zandon: Stretches back out to two turns after contesting three flat mile stakes races over the past eight months. The last two attempts were similar – Zandon was well positioned but was unable to go on with Repo Rocks in the Westchester and Cody’s Wish in the Met Mile. Has hit the board in ten of eleven career starts but hasn’t won a race since the 2022 Bluegrass. He’s tactical and runs through the wire but doesn’t finish off a race. Gets a piece.
- Charge It: Easily dealt with the field last out in the Suburban Stakes to win by open lengths (106 Beyer). Two back he couldn’t match Cody’s Wish in the Met Mile finishing a non-threatening fourth (102 Beyer). Runs best when he is up on the pace. Gets the turnback here to nine furlongs. Best three performances have all been at Belmont. Hits the board.
- Giant Game: Dale Romans trainee comes off two front running scores the most recent of which was the Cornhusker at Prairie Meadows (99 Beyer). Last year he only had two efforts as a three year old – neither went well. His four year old season has been more productive with two wins from five starts. Goes straight to the lead. Early pace.
- Last Samurai: The Coach takes a shot with a colt who has won twice this year – both were Grade III affairs at Oaklawn. In his most recent start in the Stephen F. Foster he stalked the pace but couldn’t run with the West Will Power and finished fourth (97 Beyer). Mid-pack stalker will need to run his best race to get it done today. Is only one for eleven at today’s distance. Possible underneath piece at a price.
- White Abarrio: Ran well in the Met Mile where he was behind a wall of horse but got clear at the quarter pole and made a sustained move but lost a head bob with Zandon for place (106 Beyer) – but was no threat to Cody’s Wish. All five wins have come at Gulfstream. Does this one want to stretch back out and go back to two turns? It would appear the one turn mile or seven furlongs suits him best. Second start in the Dutrow barn. Exotics player.
- Cody’s Wish: Leader of the older male division. Winner of six in a row dating back to the 2022 Westchester Stakes. This year he is two for two with open length wins in the Met Mile and the Churchill Downs Stakes with Beyers of 112 and 105, respectively. He likes to sit off the pace and come running on the turn. Stretches to nine furlongs today – the breeding and running style do not suggest any issue with the extra distance. He handled two turns just fine last year in winning the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Keeneland. The Pick.
Trivia Answer: The mighty Kelso was the most recent horse to win three Whitneys – he won in 1961, 1963, and 1965. New York bred Commentator was the most recent horse to win the Whitney twice – 2005 and 2008.