The 2021 Grade 1 Whitney
The Whitney drew a small albeit quality field of 5. Knicks Go looks to have a clear pace advantage and is likely to be bet accordingly. The 6-5 morning line will probably be close to post-time odds, and I can even see it a bit lower. Maxfield will garner his share of support, but as post time nears, I think the money will go towards the speed of Knicks Go, who should be able to clear this field into the first turn barring any suicide missions.
By My Standards is a lovely horse and might win the suitable Grade 1 if he finds it. He seems a cut below the best of them in this division. He is honest and comes off a good second in the Met Mile but looks deep despite the small field he faces in the Whitney.
Silver State rides a 6-race winning streak coming into the Whitney, including a sharp win in the Met Mile, which is at one turn. I believe he is better at two turns, and he has Steve Asmussen as his cornerman. Steve is going for the most wins record, and I think he has an upset chance to get one here. A game and a hot, confident horse is always dangerous, and this colt has bloomed. I think he will be running in the lane and is a threat to both the big guns in here as well as the filly Swiss Skydiver.
Swiss Skydiver is here as a plan B option, but that probably won’t matter once they are in the gate. She has beaten males before and gets Irad Ortiz as a replacement for Robbie Albarado. She is capable of enormous efforts at times and can also show some early gas when asked. Maybe Irad takes it to Knicks Go early and helps set up brother Jose on Maxfield. That would also help Silver State. My gut says no to the filly in here, but she is qualified and has won over the track before; she’s not for me in this spot.
When Knicks Go is on, he is tough to reel in. The two-turn mile and an eighth should allow him to get the position he likes at the front without being gunned by Rosario. He can lead these gate to the wire. With Swiss Skydiver possibly going at him early and Maxfield and Silver State running late, things may get interesting.
Maxfield is the one looking to stamp himself as leader of the division. He will have to earn it for sure the way the race shapes up. He is a lovely horse and comes in better than ever. It also seems to be his best distance. Godolphin is on a tear, he is working beautifully, and we will find out Saturday afternoon if there is indeed a new sheriff in town.
Races six through ten are stakes, and there are three pick 5’s to choose from. One is all stakes, and I would guess that pool to be in the cool mil vicinity, maybe more. There are a lot of opportunities, and they are not all created equal. Choose wisely. For me, it is the all-stakes sequence.
Enjoy the big day.
Enjoy the big day.