Whitney Stakes Preview, Pace and Pick

Horse Racing Radar
Rich Bieglmeier
Rich Bieglmeier is a Staff writer for Horse Racing Radar
Saturday, August 7, 2021

Some have described it as a "WOW" field. We wouldn't go that far with only five horses in the 2021 Whitney Stakes, but it's certainly muscular despite being thin.

Gate-mates, KNICKS GO (PP: 4 ML 6/5) and MAXFIELD (PP: 5 ML 8/5) are the oddsmaker David Aragona's pre-race favorites to take on the most action from horseplayers. The two could not be more different. Jockey Joel Rosario and KNICKS GO will fly out of the gates like Meatloaf's Bat out of Hell. Meanwhile, MAXFILED and jockey Jose Ortiz will mosey out more to the pace of a folksy country tune.

Unfortunately for MAXFILED, races of 1 1/8 miles on Saratoga's main track favor dragsters. Meet to date, 24 of 29 trips to the winners' circle were taken by horses labeled early speed. The typical winner was second at the quarter and half mile calls.

SWISS SKYDIVER (PP: 3 ML 6-1) is bringing to the boys once again, hoping to pull off the upset like she did in last year's Preakness Stakes. Many remember her duel with AUTHENTIC down the stretch and through the wire. SWISS SKYDIVER is likely to be the co-pilot here. However, dueling with KNICKS GO for the lead could be a mistake for the four-year-old filly. Jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. will have to keep his horse patient.

All the talk about SWISS SKYDIVER, MAXFIELD and KNICKS GO must have SILVER STATE (PP: 2 ML 4-1) backers scratching their heads. Trainer Steve Asmusssen's horse has won 1,2,3,4,5,6 races in a row. SILVER STATE's is growing into a solid racehorse and his last race was probably his best. He beat KNICKS GO by 3 ΒΌ lengths in the Grade I Metropolitan Handicap. And yet, he's the third choice in the program.

Unfortunately for BY MY STANDARDS (PP: 1 ML 10-1), he draws the rail. Only two managed to make it to the finish-line first wearing the red 1 at today's distance and surface. He has $1.4 million reason to believe he can overcome the post-position problem. The five-year-old son of GOLDENCENTS and A JEALOUS WOMAN has won three and finished second twice in a half-dozen, 1 1/8 mile efforts, collecting $1.44 million in prize money.

Pace Preview

Early, perhaps lone early speed in a thin field can be tough to beat, especially if the fractions are to the pacesetters liking. KNICKS GO should be able to burst to a comfortable lead without pushing too hard. SWISS SKYDIVER and SILVER STATE will likely pair up behind KNICKS GO. Meanwhile, MAXFIELD and BY MY STANDARDS will try to stay in touch with the first three while saving ground.


The field and race should set up perfectly for KNICKS GO. If he runs the first half-mile in 47 seconds or more, it's probably over, under 46 and he is in danger.


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