08/02/2013 11:32AM

All Star Stakes Analysis For Saratoga, August 3


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Fort Larned
Cross Traffic
Ron the Greek

Pace is at the heart of the Whitney, because three of the main contenders have early speed and are drawn together in posts 2, 3 and 4.

Fort Larned looks to become the first horse to win back-to-back Whitneys since Discovery in the 1930s, but he was able to secure a comfortable stalking trip breaking from the outside last year. Now, he breaks in between Mucho Macho Man, who pressed him throughout the Breeders’ Cup Classic, and Cross Traffic, who led to the last strides of both the Westchester and the Met Mile.

Laying in wait will be Ron the Greek, who made up nearly 10 lengths to get second as the favorite in last year’s Whitney. He wasn’t able to threaten a loose Fort Larned in the Stephen Foster, but will get a better setup this time. I’d be inclined to use the top three in the $500,000 late pick 4, as well as the hard-to-gauge Mucho Macho Man, using the latter only on a fast track. Ron the Greek would merit a small flier to win if let go at a silly price, say 8-1 or better.


Successful Dan
Fort Larned
Cross Traffic

Pace, which is always critical, is especially important in this race. With the presence of the very fast Cross Traffic, Fort Larned won't control the pace lilke he did when he was so impressive winning the Foster Handicap last time out. Fort Larned can't go early with Cross Traffic and expect to survive. He can rate, which he did when he won last year's Whitney, but I don't think that's his most effective style.

For these reasons, I think Successful Dan has a good chance to upset at a nice price. Successful Dan gets a much better pace set up than he did in the Foster, and he has worked very well over the Saratoga track.

If Successful Dan is anywhere near the 12-1 he is on the morning line, he is worth a win bet. He should also be used in multi-race exotics along with Fort Larned (because he is simply the best horse in the race), and Cross Traffic (in case he gets completely loose and is able transition to two turns).

As for stretch runner Ron the Greek, I suppose he could be included if you wanted to go four deep. But he has been inconsistent this year, with his best performances coming in the slop, and in a three turn race. Mucho Macho Man would have to remember who he used to be to contend, but his last two performances were not inspiring.

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