The feature at Saratoga on Saturday is the Grade One $750,000 Whitney Invitational, which features a solid field of eight horses. The Daily Racing Form has Ron the Greek, the Bill Mott trained five-year-old as the 3-1 morning line favorite. I think Ron the Greek will run well, but I'm not expecting him to win.
Like so many races, the pace of the race is the key. As I look at the race, I think I will see some early speed, especially from Trickmeister, who is my pick to win this race.
Rule, the Todd Pletcher trained five-year-old and Fort Larned, a four-year-old colt trained by Ian Wilkes, appear to be the two horses most likely to challenge Trickmeister for the lead.
If Trickmeister is able to run at a reasonable early place, like six furlongs in 1:11 or so, I have no doubt that Ramon Dominguez will guide Trickmeister to victory. In his only start over the main track at Saratoga, Trickmeister trounced the field and won by over 11 lengths in 1:48.4 for nine furlongs.
Ron the Greek is a very nice horse, but I'm not convinced that he's an elite horse just yet. Since Bill Mott took over as trainer, this deep closer has won four times in seven starts, including in the Grade One Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs.
Fort Larned is trying to win his first Grade One and is coming off a superb effort on June 30, when he dominated at Monmouth Park to win by three lengths in 1:47.2. I loved the bullet workout for this horse of 58.3 on July 30.
Hymn Book has a chance to be a factor in this race, especially if the six-year-old gelding can break from the gate without a problem. This Claude McGaughey trained horse has two wins and two second place finishes at the distance, and John Velazquez will be returning to the saddle.
Caixa Eletronica is undefeated in two career starts at the distance but wasn't very impressive in his last start. Perhaps the 55 career starts is starting to take its toll on this seven-year-old.
I like Trickmeister, especially since I think the fractions will be moderate. Ron the Greek will make a big run, but he'll have to pass some quality horses before he gets to Trickmeister.
Trickmeister has a chance to be 20-1 at post time, despite having Ramon Dominguez aboard. I really would like Fort Larned to finish just ahead of Ron the Greek and Rule in 1:49.3.