~Written by Madidon (reagbeag)
The Whitney is going to be one of the toughest races I will ever handicap. It will feature Breeders' Cup Classic runner-up Will Take Charge, Belmont Stakes winner Palace Malice and Preakness runner-up Itsmyluckyday.
Palace Malice will most likely be the favorite. There's no wonder why. Four-for-four in 2014, Belmont Stakes, Jim Dandy and a 2nd in the Jockey Gold Cup. The colt is by Preakness stakes winner, Curlin. Curlin has proved he has stamina with his 3rd in the Derby and 2nd in the Belmont, to filly Rags to Riches. He also won the 2007 Breeders' Cup Classic, Jockey Gold Cup Stakes (2007 & 2008), Woodward Stakes, Stephen Foster and the Dubai World Cup. Curlin's sire, Smart Strike, won the Salvator Mile and the Philip H. Iselin Handicap (1 1/16 mile). Palace Malice's dam won at distances no greater than 1 1/16 mile and all of her wins came on turf. Palace Rumor was sired by Royal Anthem, who came second in the Breeders' Cup Turf (1 1/2 mile). He won the Gulfstream Park Breeders' Cup Handicap (1 3/8 mile) and the Canadian International Stakes (1 1/2 mile). Palace Malice has already done so much, I can't wait to see what he can do here.
Will Take Charge... If Lukas doesn't give him a long break soon, it'll be 'Will Be Injured' (I know not very cleaver but you know what, I don't really care at this point). WTC has proved he can place at 1 1/4 mile with his 2nd in the Classic. He came 2nd in the Jim Dandy but won the Travers, beating Palace Malice. In November WTC defeated Classic runner-up Game On Dude and rivals Prayer for Relief and Golden Ticket. The colt is by Unbridled's Song whon won the 1995 Breeders' Cup Juvenile (1 1/16 mile), Florida Derby (1 1/8 mile) and the Wood Memorial (1 1/8 mile). Unbridled's Song is by 1990 Kentucky Derby winner, Unbridled. He also won the 1990 Breeders' Cup Classic. Other accomplishments include a 2nd in the Preakness and a 3rd in the 1991 Classic. Take Charge Lady, dam of WTC, participated in the 2001 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies and the Breeders' Cup Distaff (2002 & 2003) She came 2nd in the Apple Blossom, 2nd in the Ogden Phipps and Delaware Handicap. If Lukas wasn't pushing WTC the colt so much, I'd believe in him way more than what I do.
The Claiborne Farm gelding Departing has a pretty decent chance here if he can repeat his 3rd place in the Stephen Foster. The gelding is sired by War Front. The stallion won the Breeders' Cup Handicap (6 furlongs) and the Princelet Stakes (1 1/16 mile). Leave, dam of Departing, was raced once and finished 8th to multiple stakes winner Cher Ami. Leave's sire, Pulpit, won the Flordia Derby (1 1/8 mile) and the Fountain of Youth (1 /16). He came 4th in the Kentucky Derby, his final race. While Departing doesn't have the best of pedigrees for stamina, he has proven himself against horses of this caliber.
Since the Lawyer Ron colt ran in the Kentucky Derby I have been hooked on him. Itsmyluckyday's best races have been the Preakness (1 3/16 mile) and the Florida Derby (1 1/8 mile), both of which he came second. In his past three races the colt has gone undefeated. Lawyer Ron won the Risen Star (1 1/16 mile), Rebel Stakes (1 1/16 mile) and the Arkansas Derby (1 1/8 mile). He came 12th in the Kentucky Derby before a 2nd in the Super Derby (1 1/8 mile). He ran in the 2006 & 2007 Classic (9th & 7th), the '07 Classic was his final race. Lawyer Ron is by Met Mile winner, Langfuhr. In '96 he won all but one of his grade one stakes, losing to Lit de Justice in the Breeders' Cup Sprint (6 furlongs). The dam of Itsmyluckyday, Viva La Slew, won twice out of twenty tries. Her wins were at two furlongs and one mile. I am very high on this horse and the last time he raced against these horses he came 2nd.
Prayer for Relief won mainly at 1 1/8 mile and 1 1/16 mile with his maiden coming at 6 furlongs. In the Pimlico Special, he beat rival Moreno with his 2nd place. Sired by Jump Start, who won at distances of 5 1/2 furlongs to 6 1/2 furlongs. He came 11th in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and 2nd in the Champagne Stakes. A.P. Indy, grandsire of Prayer for Relief, went unbeaten for seven starts before coming 5th in the Molson Export Million Stakes (1 1/8 mile). The colt won the 1992 Belmont Stakes and the 1992 Breeders' Cup Classic. Sparklin Lil, dam of Prayer for Relief, won between 5 1/2 furlongs to 1 mile and 70 yards. She was sired by Mr. Sparkles, who was stakes placed. All-in-all this isn't my favorite horse but he has stamina on his sire's side.
Moreno is by one of my favorite sires, Ghostzapper, but I am not too excited about this colt's races this year. He beat Prayer for Relief, Last Gunfighter and Romansh with his 2nd in the Suburban Handicap (1 1/4 mile). In the Charles Town Classic Stakes (1 1/8 mile) he came 3rd to Imperative and Game On Dude. Ghostzapper won the Vosburgh Stakes (6 1/2 furlongs), Tom Fool Handicap (7 furlongs), Breeders' Cup Handicap (1 1/8 mile), Woodward Stakes (1 1/8 mile), Breeders' Cup Classic (1 1/4 mile) and, his final race, the Met Mile (1 mile). Sire of Ghostzapper is Awesome Again, winner of the 1998 Stephen Foster (1 1/8 mile), '98 Whitney Handicap (1 1/8 mile), '98 Breeders' Cup Handicap, '98 Hawthorne Gold Cup, both 1 1/4 mile, and the 1998 Breeders' Cup Classic (1 1/4 mile). Danceinthesunlight, dam of Moreno, was unraced. She was by 1992 Belmont Stakes and Breeders' Cup Classic winner A.P. Indy. I do really like Moreno's pedigree for this race.
Romansh is coming off of a 5th in the Suburban Handicap, placing behind rivals Moreno (2nd) and Prayer for Relief (3rd). He is by Benardini, winner of the 2006 Preakness Stakes. Coming off of his Preakness win her won the Jim Dandy (1 1/8 mile), Travers (1 1/4 mile) and the Jockey Gold Cup (1 1/4 mile). Bernardini is by '92 Belmont and Classic winner, A.P. Indy. Romansh is out of graded stakes placed Clonogny who came 2nd to Savorthetime in the First Lady Handicap (6 furlongs). She is by Go for GIn. GFG won the 1994 Kentucky Derby before coming 2nd in both the Preakness and Belmont. I like the colt's pedigree but his last win came in March against grade three company.
One of the two five-year olds in the group is Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile runner-up, Golden Ticket. He's sired by Speightstown. Speightstown won the Churchill Downs Handicap (7 furlongs), True North Breeders' Cup Handicap (6 furlongs), Vanderbilt Handicap (6 furlongs) and the Breeders' Cup Sprint (6 furlongs). He is sired by Gone West who won the Gotham Stakes (1 mile), Withers Stakes (1 mile) and the Dwyer Stakes (1 1/8 mile). Golden Ticket is out of the 0-for-4 mare, Business Stakes. I'm not a fan of this horse, he hasn't done much and he has more of a sprinter pedigree.
Last Gunfighter is the other 5-year old in the field. In his last start he came 9th. The horse has won the Excelsior Stakes (1 1/8 mile). Pimlico Special Stakes (1 3/16 mile), Philip H. Iselin Stakes (1 1/8 mile), Hawthorne Gold Cup Handicap (1 1/4 mile). He is by First Samurai, winner of the Hopeful Stakes (7 furlongs), Champagne Stakes (1 mile) and the Fountain of Youth (1 1/8 mile). He came 3rd in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (1 1/16 mile). Giant's Causeway, sire of First Samurai, won 'Weight For Age Stakes' races overseas before coming 2nd to two-time winner, Tiznow. Freddie Frisson, dam of Last Gunfighter, was 7-for-24. She was by Dixieland Band, winner of the 1983 Pennsylvania Derby (1 1/8 mile). He also won the Massachusetts Handicap (1 1/8 mile). I do like Last Gunfighter's Chances here and the payout might be pretty.