SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – The countdown is on for one of the most highly anticipated races of the summer.
The Whitney Handicap is one of the five stakes races to take place Saturday. The new $1.5 million purse is the biggest of the meet.
Palice Malice is an early contender for Horse of the Year. He has won all four of his starts in 2014, and his trainer said he likes it at the Spa.
“He does. He seems to do very well here,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “The way he’s training, he’s acting like he’s coming up to it in top shape.”
But most of the horses are coming in at top shape. Four of the top five finishers in last year’s Travers are competing head-to-head again on Saturday.
“Yeah, it does have a bit of a rematch feel,” Pletcher said.
D. Wayne Lukas is Will Take Charge’s Trainer.
“We won the race, and we’re a three-year-old champion,” he said.
Lukas said Will Take Charge should not be overlooked, but he’s not pleased with drawing the rail.
“I’m sitting there relaxing and all of a sudden I heard ‘one,’ and thought, ‘Oh hell,’” he said. “I didn’t like it. But we’ll make the best of it.”
Will Take Charge is the 4-1 second choice on the morning line. He and the rest of the field will be gunning for Palice Malice, the even money favorite.
“It’s a million and a half dollars,” Moren’s trainer Eric Guillot said. “Third place money is a lot of money. So if he is the best horse, congratulations, good job, whatever, but I mean, I know one thing – you can’t win it if you ain’t in it.”