If you picked up a copy of our latest issue, you’ll have already learned that the Whitney Handicap was named not for the “Queen of Saratoga,” Marylou Whitney, but the entire Whitney family. Regardless, she’ll be on our minds this weekend, when the 94th running of the Grade 1, $1 million stakes race for older horses takes place at Saratoga Race Course on Saturday, August 7.
The five-horse field looks stellar, with five-time graded stakes winner Maxfield, who recently grabbed victories in the Grade 2 Alysheba and Grade 1 Stephen Foster, landing 8-5 odds on the morning line. Also competing in the field will be the Brad Cox–trained Knicks Go, the 6-5 morning-line favorite; Peter Callahan’s Swiss Skydiver, the reigning Champion 3-Year-Old Filly, who will attempt to become the first female since undefeated Hall of Famer Personal Ensign in 1988 to capture the Whitney; Winchell Thoroughbreds and Willis Horton Racing’s Silver State, who brings a six-race winning streak to the race for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen; and four-time graded stakes winner By My Standards, who will be looking for redemption following a runner-up effort in last year’s Whitney.
Whitney Day also features two other Grade 1 stakes races, including the $1 million Saratoga Derby Invitational for 3-year-olds and the $500,000 Test for 3-year-old fillies. Also featured on the card are the Grade 2, $250,000 Glens Falls for older fillies and mares and the $120,000 Fasig-Tipton Lure for 4-year-olds and up.
As one of the most important races in the North American handicap division, the Whitney has been won by subsequent Champion Older Horses Improbable (2020), Gun Runner (2017), Honor Code (2015), Blame (2010), Lawyer Ron (2007), Invasor (2006), Left Bank (2002), Lemon Drop Kid (2000), Victory Gallop (1999), Criminal Type (1990) and Slew o’ Gold (1984). Prominent Whitney victors during the early years of the race include all-time greats Equipoise (1932), Discovery (1934-36), War Admiral (1938), Stymie (1946), Tom Fool (1953), Carry Back (1962), Kelso (1961, 1963, 1965), Dr. Fager (1968) and Alydar (1978).
The Whitney is slated as Race 10 on Saturday’s 12-race card.