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Whitney Handicap Betting – Tonalist Snags Spot In Breeders' Cup Classic

Posted by on 8/6/2015 9:49:08 PM

The Grade-1 Whitney Handicap has been run since 1926 at Sarataoga Race Course, and now it is part of the “Win And You're In” series to get into the Breeders' Cup, which means the winner will end up in the Classic. Not only that, there is a purse of $1.25 million for this event, which is for horses three years and old as they run 1 1/8 miles on dirt.

This has the chance to be the best race of the summer with an excellent field entered at Saratoga and there are a handful of horses that have a legitimate shot at getting to the winner's circle. However, Tonalist has come up short in a couple of races recently and he'll make good on Saturday.

What : Horse Betting

When : Saturday, August 8th, 2015; 5:46 PM ET

Where : Saratoga Race Course, Saratoga Springs, NY

Pick : Tonalist

Coach Inge needed five tries to break his maiden, then had three allowance races (winning one), then he won the Grade-2 Brooklyn Handicap in June, and was third at the Grade-2 Suburban Handicap last month. This four-year-old gelding seems to be getting better and better with time, and he could definitely end up in the money on Saturday.

Honor Code won the Grade-1 Met Mile in June, and in eight starts, only once has he finished lower than second, and that was a fifth at the Grade-2 Alysheba in May. After an eight-month layoff in 2014, he seems to be back on track and this four-year-old will be a threat; chances are he'll be the favorite.

Lea has made 16 starts, and has finished outside of the money twice, and that was in back-to-back starts in the summer/fall of 2013. He has seven wins and 12 of his starts have come in graded-stakes events, and at six years old, still has the legs to keep up with younger horses.

Liam's Map has made just five starts, needing two tries to break his maiden, and two allowance races, along with a win at the non-graded Harlan's Holiday in December. His allowance win in June was his first start of 2014, so this might be a little too much for the four-year-old.

Moreno is the defending champion here and he'll be hard-pressed to repeat, especially coming off an eighth at the Grade-1 Gold Cup at Santa Anita in June. He had four straight finishes in the money leading up to that, including a win at the Grade-2 Charles Town Classic in April, but this is a very strong field and this five-year-old gelding has to find an extra gear.

Noble Bird won the Grade-1 Stephen Foster in June and now has two finishes in the money in graded-stakes races, but he also needed four tries to break his maiden last year and finished sixth in an allowance race in February. This four-year-old will need a better showing on Saturday to keep up with this field.

Normandy Invasion finished tenth in last year's Met Mile, then took 13 months off and finished second in an allowance race. This five-year-old is just getting his legs back after that long layoff, so don't expect much from him on the weekend.

Tonalist has finished second twice in a row at the Met Mile and the Suburban Handicap, and he won the Grade-3 Westchester in April. Last year's Belmont Stakes winner is plenty talented and also finished fifth at the Breeders' Cup Classic this year, so he'll be in the mix on Saturday.

V.E. Day ended 2014 with a poor 11th at the Classic, then finished sixth at the Grade-3 Fort Marcy, but he finished second at the Grade-2 Brooklyn Handicap in June and seems to be on the way up. This four-year-old is getting better, but he'll need much more to compete with this field.

Wicked Strong finished second at the non-graded Forbidden Apple last month and that was on turf; his previous starts were all on turf and he finished fourth at the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes last year, but that might have been the peak for this four-year-old. But still, he could make a run for the money.

How It Will Play Out

This is one of the best fields of the entire summer and the stakes are incredibly high with a spot in the Breeders' Cup Classic up for grabs. In what should be a fantastic race, go with Tonalist to edge out the field.

Whitney Handicap Betting Pick: Tonalist

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