Exotics Plays for the 2023 Whitney Stakes
A standout field of six will go postward in the $1 million Whitney S. (G1) at Saratoga on Saturday. The historic contest is led by the sensational #6 Cody’s Wish (1-2), who rides in with four Grade 1 tallies in succession dating back to last campaign for conditioner Bill Mott. The son of Curlin stretches out and will travel two turns against a strong field, but he still gets top billing at a small price.
Cody’s Wish is a neck shy of recording 10 wins in succession and began his Grade 1 surge when flying home to a decisive victory in the Forego S. (G1) on the oval last summer. The Godolphin homebred capped his four-year-old year with a game score in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1), and he has been even better in 2023. He romped in the Churchill Downs S. (G1) in May to commence the season and followed that fine effort up with a brilliant Met Mile (G1) tally, thoroughly dominating his opposition from well off the early pace under regular pilot Junior Alvarado.
The peaking five-year-old looks set for this run with a handful of solid morning drills on Saratoga’s Oklahoma training track. While the move to two turns at nine furlongs will be a test for the favorite, I fully expect him to be up to the task.
Grade 1 star #1 Zandon (9-2) doesn’t win a lot, but the Chad Brown trainee is consistently very good and has held up well with the best of his generation for three seasons in a row. The Upstart colt placed in both the Travers S. (G1) and Jim Dandy S. (G2) here in 2022, and the dark bay could be peaking on Saturday while making his third run of the season. The Kentucky-bred will appreciate the move to 1 1/8 miles and two turns, and he has been training in forward fashion following his second-place result in the Met Mile, as well. Joel Rosario has the call.
#2 Charge It (5-1) is an enigma to me, as he occasionally looks like the best horse in training, and at other times merely looks above average. The Whisper Hill Farm homebred has never run at the Spa, but he enters off a facile Suburban (G2) triumph at Belmont Park and figures to sit a really good voyage in this endeavor, too. Tapit colt could be the pace of the race if he is sent with ambition early on under John Velazquez, and the four-year-old will be very dangerous if he dictates things from the opening bell. He’s worth including in most wagers.
- $25 exacta: 6 with 1 ($25)
- $10 exacta: 6 with 2 ($10)
- $5 trifecta: key 6 with 1,2 ($10)
- $5 trifecta: 1,2 with 6 with 1,2 ($10)