Onion beats Secretariat in the 1973 Whitney at Saratoga
The 2018 edition of the Whitney Stakes at Saratoga on Saturday has drawn a strong field of eight and promises to be a very competitive horse race. For those who feel that Diversify will rocket to the lead and run them all into the ground like he did in the Suburban, I have a few words of caution, "It's not always as easy as it looks!" In the 1973 Whitney, a big red chestnut named Secretariat was beaten by a nice handicap horse with the improbable name of Onion.
If not Diversify, then who? Lets look at the field.
He was one of Diversify's Suburban victims where he ran an unthreatening 5th. Since I used him that day, I have to be careful about making excuses for him where there are none. Lets face it, no one was beating Diversify that day. He ran the first three quarters of a mile and a quarter race in 109 and change, opened up an insurmountable lead, and left them all looking for a place to lay down.
Still, those monster races where one horse has it all his own way usually leave the rest of the field in ruins. The two longest shots on the board ran 2nd and 3rd that day.
I'm going to forgive Tapwrit and suggest that the dynamics of the Whitney may be more to his liking. He draws inside, figures to get a more contentious pace, and should be in the picture at the end. I see him as a strong contender in here.
2. Backyard Heaven
Nice looking horse. He was embarrassed by Pavel in the Stephen Foster, but in fairness, Pavel ran a giant race that day. The problem here is that these are no easier opponents. He is, however, one of the keys to the race. He, and the horse to his immediate outside will have to put Diversify to the test early or he will be long gone. Diversify is not the kind of horse you can just sit off and wait till the stretch because by the time you get to the stretch he will be out of sight!
He has a chance, but it all depends on Diversify. I think it is more likely that he hooks that one at some point and they both suffer for it.
It's not often that a 30-1 morning line horse is the key to the race, but this one is. I don't think he can win, but if he and Backyard Heaven don't offer some measure of resistance early, then Diversify may just romp like in the Suburban.
I think the draw and the pace could help some of the stalkers in here.
4. Mind Your Biscuits
I have to admit he astounded me in the Met Mile. Not only did he rebound completely from the trip to Dubai where he was the only horse the entire meet to conquer the ridiculous speed bias, but he stretched out to the mile with no problem. He's adding another eighth in here and I think it may be asking too much. I'm passing but I was wrong about him in the Met.
5. Discreet Lover
I give him no chance! The third in the Suburban is very deceptive. He didn't run a lick early, then he passed all the horses who got tired chasing Diversify late. He is strictly for the lightning strikes twice aficionados.
The obvious and deserving favorite off his dominating win in the Suburban. It was one of the most impressive races of the summer so far and he will try to do the same thing here. Can't fault those who think he's a cinch, but see comment re Secretariat above. There is some inside speed signed on here and as long as there are no scratches, I think he might be vulnerable here.
If he clears without pressure, he is gone with the wind that swept through Georgia!
7. Good Samaritan
He always comes running late and he will come running late in here too. He will be passing all the horses who chase Diversify early, but his only chance to win is if that one gets hooked hard early and the race falls apart.
He's not a bad option to hit the board, but it's hard to see him swooping this field.
What can you say about the Cornhusker except that it was awful. He should have been able to beat those horses. Still, he could get a nice stalking position if a speed duel develops. I think Tapwrit is a far better option in here because of the draw and his Suburban not being quite so bad as it looks on paper.
I'mgoing to pick Tapwrit in a mild upset. I will be using Diversify, Good Samaritan, and McCraken in combinations with my pick.
Good luck to all who are playing!