Saratoga Race Course will host the showdown between Palace Malice and Will Take Charge during Saturday’s 87th running of the Whitney, a Grade 1 race with a $1.5-million purse.
Palace Malice and Will Take Charge met on the track several times last year in the 2013 Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes as well as the Jim Dandy Stakes, the Travers Stakes and the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Classic. Palace Malice has a couple of head-to-head wins (Belmont and Travers), while Will Take Charge won the Jim Dandy and finished ahead of Palace Malice while second in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Let’s take a quick look at both:
Palace Malice, currently ranked America’s No. 1 Thoroughbred on the most recent NTRA Thoroughbred Media Poll, is the standout favorite for the Whitney at even-money on the morning line. He’s won all four of his starts in 2014, including the Metropolitan Handicap on June 7 at Belmont Park. He proved he can handle the Saratoga main track when winning the 2013 Jim Dandy. Will this be Palace Malice’s fifth consecutive win?
Will Take Charge, the 2013 Eclipse Award winner as champion 3-year-old male, is the second favorite at 4-to-1 odds. He’s trained well since his last start at Churchill Downs, where he finished second in the Stephen Foster Handicap. Will Take Charge also has a history of success at Saratoga with the Travers win and, out of all the horses on the field, I believe he’s the one to give Palace Malice the biggest challenge.
There are a few other horses to keep an eye on in this race. Moreno (10-to-1) has a lot of speed and is no stranger to Saratoga, having finished second by a nose to Will Take Charge in the 2013 Travers. Depending on how the horses break, I could see Moreno either setting the pace or challenging the favorites right at the finish. Departing looks like he is regaining his best form, coming in third last time out in the Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs. He has the talent to finish in the money, and at 6-to-1 odds there is no reason not to add him for a trifecta bet. Itsmyluckyday (12-to-1) has won three consecutive stakes races, most recently taking the Salvator Mile Stakes on July 6 at Monmouth Park. He will make his Saratoga debut on Saturday, and I’m curious as to how he will respond against this field of horses.
Here are a few ways that I would play the Whitney Handicap on a $20 Budget using: #5 Palace Malice, #1 Will Take Charge, #3 Moreno, #6 Departing, #4 Itsmyluckyday
Scenario A: $0.50 trifecta part wheel: 1,3,4,5 with 1,3,5,6 with 3,4,6 = $12.50
Scenario B: $2 exacta part wheel: 1,3,5 with 1,3,5,6 = $18
Scenario C: $5 exacta part wheel: 1,5 with 1,5,6 = $20
This would also be a great race to play a $0.10 superfecta box using all five of the horses = $12
*The winner of the Whitney Handicap, a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” qualifying race, which will be televised on NBC with coverage beginning at 5 p.m. ET, will automatically earn a spot in the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Classic.*
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