Ladies and gentlemen, we've got an amazing sprint race coming up. It's the $600K Win and You're In Forego Stakes (G1) at Saratoga. Top older sprinters are set to clash, including our defending 2020 Breeder's Cup Sprint champion WHITMORE.
HRR's Valerie Mellema published an article spotlighting our Sprint Champ, which you can read here: Age is Only A Number for WHITMORE.
On Saturday's eighth race at the Spa, eighth will enter the gate, each with a chance to secure their place in the 2021 Breeder's Cup Sprint (G1) at Del Mar. Let's have a look at the field and analyze their chances horse by horse.
The $600K Forego Stakes (G1) — 7 furlongs, Dirt, Four-year-olds and upward.
Post Time is 3:37 PM ET.
MISCHEVIOUS ALEX: 6-1
MIND CONTROL: 7-2
DOUBLY BLESSED: 15-1
CHANCE IT: 20-1
FIRENZE FIRE 6-1
MISCHEVIOUS ALEX breaks from the rail with odds of 6-1 for trainer Saffie A. Joseph Jr.. On paper, he's shown the best speed at this distance, and by a good margin over his runner-up. His Carter (G1) victory was massive, and that was just three starts back. Yes, he ran poorly last time out as the $1.40-to-win favorite, finishing eighth, eleven lengths behind the winner. His figures were so low something must've been wrong. The result left him still winless at Saratoga. Nevertheless, the son of INTO MISCHIEF is a classy fellow and it's at our own peril that we discount him. He's very fast out of the gate. From this inside post, we might see Irad Ortiz Jr. gun him to the front and never look back.
Our Breeder's Cup Sprint Champ WHITMORE breaks from the two hole for trainer Ron Moquett. He's been assigned the morning-line odds of 4-1. Look, he may be winless all year, sure. But he just ran one of his fastest races of his entire career last time out in the Alfred G. Vanderbilt (G1), albeit in defeat. Did you know he turns nine years old next year?
The champ sprinter by PLEASANTLY PERFECT has hit the board 3 of 4 times at the Spa. His style fits perfectly for this spot. The Saratoga track has favored "P-types" / Pressers (a Brisnet term for mid-race closer) considerably the past week. Ditto for the month, though not to the same degree. WHITMORE figures to be the only true P-type closer, aside from one other at 15-1. Strong finisher Joel Rosario gets the call.
LEXITONIAN from three hole is 9-2 on the morning-line for trainer Jack Sisterson. Nice to see jockey Jose Lezcano back for the task. The son of SPEIGHTSTOWN ran his eyeballs out last time out in winning the Alfred G. Vanderbilt (G1). He crushed his previous top speed figure. Question is, how does he follow up from that effort, a bounce? A move forward? He was given a month to recover from his win. And then posted his first and only workout last week— breezing 4F in 52.13, the 158th "fastest" of 160 works at that distance. Hard to tell how fit he is off that report, but we'll soon find out. Nevertheless, he is freakishly fast when his mind is on running.
MIND CONTROL is 7-2 from the four-hole for trainer Todd Pletcher. The Pletcher-Velazquez teamwork converts at 29% over the past two months. Here is a contender to take seriously. Afterall, doesn't it take a serious sprinter to beat FIRENZE FIRE at Belmont Park? Well, MIND CONTROL did just that in the John A. Nerud (G2). What's more, he was making his first start for Pletcher and it was a success. The son of STAY THIRSTY scored two Grade 1 wins over this Saratoga track and could fire big in his second try for his new barn.
DOUBLY BLESSED from the five hole is 15-1 on the morning-line for trainer Michael Maker. The son of EMPIRE MAKER will try sprinting for the first time, while trampolining up in class to face these foes. Tall order. But he'll do so under the hot hands of jockey Luis Saez. Saez and Maker team up to convert at 28% win rate over the past two months.
CHANCE IT is interesting from the six hole. This is trainer Saffie A. Joseph Jr.'s second entrant who has been assigned a morning-line odds of 20-1. Here is a horse who had a solid start to his racing career: 4 wins and 2 seconds from first 6 races. Against this field, he holds the second-highest average speed, second-only to YAUPON. In his last race, he came six-wide yet proceeded to grind it out in the stretch to finish second. In that race, he finished just in front of talented sprinter DIAMOND OOPS. One unignorable question is, can CHANCE IT win outside of Gulfstream Park? We shall soon find out.
YAUPON from the seven hole is the 5-2 morning-line favorite from the Steve Asmussen barn. He seems to be back to his winning self. The speedy son of UNCLE MO was the 2020 Breeder's Cup Sprint (G1) favorite, after stringing together consecutive graded stakes victories. But he finished a disappointing eighth, then followed that with another eighth place finish in the Dubai Golden Shaheen. But then things clicked when YAUPON was entered in the ultra competitive Lite The Fuse Stakes at Pimlico. This was a tough race. It rated similar in competitiveness to the 2020 Breeder's Cup Sprint (G1). He won. The horses he beat included LAKI and CHATEAU. He earned a monster ESF rating of 115, while coming off a three-month layoff. If YAUPON's mind is on running, he might prove too fast to catch.
FIRENZE FIRE rounds out the field from the eighth-slot. He is 6-1 on the morning line for trainer Kelly J. Breen. Plain and simple, this is a classy horse. This year FIRENZE FIRE has already beaten the talented FLAGSTAFF in the True North (G2). He finished a close second to MIND CONTROL in the John A. Nerud (G2). He has put up solid figures all this year except for his last race, the Alfred G. Vanderbilt (G1), where he finished fifth while at 5-1 odds to win. In his defense, he had a rough trip that day: he had to take up while in tight quarters, then swing six wide with his rally, which was of no consequence in the stretch. With a better trip here, he's still dangerous from that outside post. Note: FIRENZE FIRE's strongest Late Speed Figure came when drawing from an outside post, such as his draw here, and then rallying from off the pace. Such a style could do him well in this spot. Regular ride Jose Ortiz is back for the task.