07/31/2013 11:31AM

Saratoga: Fort Larned in post 3, made 7-5 for Whitney defense

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Barbara D. Livingston
Fort Larned will try to become the first horse since Discovery in the 1930s to win back-to-back Whitneys.

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Defending Whitney Handicap winner Fort Larned drew post 3 and was installed as the 7-5 morning-line favorite for Saturday's 86th renewal of the Whitney Invitational Handicap at Saratoga.

Fort Larned will seek to become the first horse since Discovery to win back-to-back Whitneys. Discovery won three straight from 1934-36. Kelso (1961-63-65) and Commentator (2005, '08) were also multiple winners.

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Fort Larned is coming off a monster 6 1/4-length victory in the Stephen Foster Handicap last out at Churchill Downs, his first win since taking last November's Breeders' Cup Classic.

He drew post 3, in between two other speed horses, Mucho Macho Man to his immediate inside and Cross Traffic to his immediate outside.

Fort Larned won the Stephen Foster in front-running fashion. He came from a stalking third to win last year's Whitney.

"It'll be up to Brian," trainer Ian Wilkes said, referring to jockey Brian Hernandez. "It's important to get out of the gate. A good clean break, that's the key to it all."

[SARATOGA 2013: Complete meet coverage, exclusive DRF videos]

Mucho Macho Man returns to Grade 1 competition for the first time since he ran second to Fort Larned in the Breeders' Cup Classic. He is winless in two starts this year.

Ron the Greek, second in last year's Whitney in what trainer Bill Mott believes was the multiple Grade 1 winner's best race of 2012, drew post 6.

Successful Dan, who beat Fort Larned and Mucho Macho Man in the Grade 2 Alysheba last year, will try to bounce back from a fourth-place finish in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster. He drew the rail.

Others entered include Alpha, last year's co-Travers winner, Cross Traffic, this year's Met Mile runner-up, Csaba, this year's Grade 3 Hal's Hope winner, and Fast Falcon, third in the Suburban and Brooklyn.

The Whitney is a Breeders' Cup Win and You're In race, earning the winner a fees-paid berth in the BC Classic.

[BREEDERS' CUP CHALLENGE: Win and You’re In schedule and results]

The Whitney will be shown live on a one-hour telecast on NBC Sports from 5-6 p.m. Eastern.

Greg Rouch More than 1 year ago
To Cavonnier: If this new policy doesn't work economically, they will scrap it. So why berate it? It's up to DRF customers whether it proves viable, because they can reject it. Meanwhile, it takes $$$ run the operation and any company, particularly in a weak recovery, must weigh all its options.
Greg Rouch More than 1 year ago
These horses take turns running in their top form. The best effort from any of these could be enough to win. Fort Larned's cycle may have peaked in his prior. This must be an especially tough race to capture in consecutive years, since only one horse has done so. I look for Successful Dan to be ready for a top effort. MMM and Ron the Greek are also due to come up with a big performance.
Cavonnier More than 1 year ago
It's an absolutely sad day and time when horseracing is experiencing such tough times, that one of the identifiable publications is sticking it to its loyal fan base. By trying to charge members/casual readers, to the sport, money to read/use things that have been FREE for years, is criminal. I am not sure about the economic hardships the DRF must be experiencing, but charging the loyal racing fan extra, for traditionally free material, is a stroke of absurdity. I find it over ironic the number of complaints read on this web-site about how unusually high take out numbers for tracks is killing the sport's growing popularity. This high take rate is something that has been condemned by this site and its numerous writers. So with being known and understood, what does the DRF decide to do, in a critical time of the sport, lets charge the average/loyal racing fan for our content. Please defend how you at DRF are any different than the racetrack RIPPING off the public with high take out rates and now charging silly rates for use on your website? See the hypocrisy that exists in this sport, is killing it. Those who are entrusted with helping the sport, the DRF, is slowly continuing to kill the sport through its GREED! Shame on this website and those who support this change. At the risk of your loyal readers and horse racing fans, you are putting money in your pockets at the expense of those who support this site and sports, the fans! Thank you DRF for contributing to the demise of the sport through your greed!
Nick Arden More than 1 year ago
Are you under the mistaken assumption that DRF is some sort of public institution?
Michael Hunsicker More than 1 year ago
I love your deprecating sarcasm! However, this is a simple issue of charging money for something that has served racing fans well for years. There has been that option for those fans who wanted more from the site would pay for it. Now the average, like me, who reads the racing articles now is going to pay for thIs all the sudden. Insights and opinions that you posted are just the helpful insights that really helps make our country great, keep it up. No doubt you are the bright light of your community and family.
Big Bob More than 1 year ago
Ah, Cavonnier shows up...To Nick's point, Should I then be able to walk into the local convenience store and take a Form without paying? Do you think they are charging $4 for the paper that the Form is written on? C'mon man, times are changing, the new medium is the internet. You've been getting away with not having to pay for the articles for years, now DRF can't afford to provide that perk anymore. I would hate to see your reaction if the government stopped providing welfare.
prose More than 1 year ago
I love Fort Larned, but he's not an iron horse like Skip Away. He won't reel off 8 graded stakes victories in a row. He's not even in a class with a horse like Invasor. He will, however, if he stays healthy, crush Game On Dude's chances of winning the BC Classic, and that is all important to us, as bettors, because GOD will go off the favorite again. FL has tremendous natural speed which he can carry a distance. The only way GOD could ever get in front would to be sent on a suicide mission; and since GOD cannot win in Grade 1 company without things his own way on the front end, FL represents the sharp handicapper's best weapon with which to make lots of money in Nov.
Joyce Johnson Groome More than 1 year ago
Maybe I missed something! But where is Flat Out? I thought he was going to run! At least that's what I had read!
denali1 More than 1 year ago
Cool your jets fellas we still have to get to Saturday. Who knows how the track and weather plays out.
Tom Mallios More than 1 year ago
This is a race that should suit Cross Traffic to a tee, he will either be on the lead or just sitting off of Succesful Dan. He is the fastest horse for a short distance by far.All depends on how Johnny V. wants to play it up.The horse is bred to go long.There is no legitimate horse in the race at all.Johnny will have his pick of the litter. Fort Larned is coming off of a race that was huge to speed. that was the same night that royal delta was beaten by the front runner.he controlled a weak pace,he was stalked by take charge indy who never fired.Hopefully the bettors will follow suit and overbet him lower than his ridiculous 7/5 ML. The dark horse here is Ron The Greek. After that monster race at Gulfstream,mott shipped him out west.this horse is starting to come around. But Cross Traffic looks like a very solid play.
Kendall Daniels More than 1 year ago
Are you talking about the same cross traffic that's been run down twice at a mile? He's supposed to now hold on to win at 9 furlongs against 2 of the best older horses in America? That's very unlikely. You may want to re-watch the Whitney last year. I see a similar outcome.
Tom Mallios More than 1 year ago
then kendall,let your wallet do the talking.if your interpetation is that he got run down running 2 super speed numbers.personally if i were you with an opinion like that,i would not allow the wallet to do the talking.thank the lord you never give the winners the credit due for winning races.i am sure that a horse like verrazano did absolutely nothing this weekend.all he did was beat a field that lost.
Big Bob More than 1 year ago
I think your right Kendall about the race setting up like last year for FL. Hopefully MMM fires and makes it an interesting stretch run. Hard to see Cross Traffic lasting 9 furlongs.
Tom Mallios More than 1 year ago
no disrespect toboth of you,but a man who knows more about horses and forgot more about horses than the 2 of you will ever dream of knowing thinks he can get 9 furlongs.that would be none other than Todd Pletcher. Also,arguably the best jock in America has decided to take the mount. S o excuse me that if it came to listening to the confidance level of Todd and Johnny v. .AS OPPOSED TO BLOGGERS,GUESS WHERE I WOULD SIDE.
Bob More than 1 year ago
Anyone can lose a race , not anyone can win a race. Repeat this over and over and it will make sense. With that said , no one KNOWS anything , we base our judgement and opnion on PAST performances. That is all hindsight. It is so funny that bloggers talk more confident than the jockey himself. If he doesn't know , we certainly don't. Odds are Cross Traffic makes the distance but just not in front of Fort Larned.
Big Bob More than 1 year ago
Lol can you explain why you think RtG is starting to come around? Evidence would seem to suggest he can't hang with the top horses any more. And yes I know Mott has forgotten more than I will ever know.
Tom Mallios More than 1 year ago
no bob,just look at his last race,he made a nice middle move into walking fractions set by larned.i am sure because he has not done anything lately,he cant hang with the big boys.i am sure you did not say the same about larned before he got spanked around all year after his bad incident in dla. no not because mott knows more.but because you need wins to open your eyes.
Perl More than 1 year ago
Hey bigmouth mallios, Ft Larned's fractions of 46/110 last time were "walking" huh? What have you been smoking?
Julie Gregory More than 1 year ago
pp,s are just that past. never count out pletcher rather you like him or not. it seems more often then not hes got something up his sleeve. it seems he really shines this time of year
Ann Ferland More than 1 year ago
Bred to go long? by a miler sire out of a sprinter/miler mare? Since 9f is the limit of the miler distance proclivity, he might just get that in the right circumstance, but a real distance of ground? NO WAY. Cross Traffic hasn't tried 2 turns yet, so we can't make a judgment about that yet. His folks certainly chose a tough place to make the experiment.
Brandon Layer More than 1 year ago
How can I get excited about the Whitney when the G2 Fourstardave is just a week away?!? I mean nobody runs in the Whitney. The Fourstardave is where the best horses are.
Big Bob More than 1 year ago
Ha... and its too bad there isn't a big race Aug 31 that the winners of the Whitney and Fourstardave could meet in. But three weeks just wouldnt be enough rest for the best horse in the country today.
Perl More than 1 year ago
Can I assume this is sarcasm, Brandon? Let me ask, if you owned Wise Dan and you were interested in winning as much money with him as possible in the next few years, and he's a 6yo gelding, would you target the Whitney or the Fourstardave?
Vic Taylor More than 1 year ago
We don't care about the owners, Perl. We care about a good horse race with the best horses in that race. I think you forgot that. You must be an owner.
Ann Ferland More than 1 year ago
Since Wise Dan is a half to Successful Dan, who is notoriously unsound, I have to wonder if Wise D has some ouchy joints, too. Turf and AW are easier on iffy joints and feet than dirt, so it may be that they are not running the Wise one on dirt to keep him going longer.
Perl More than 1 year ago
The best Whitney field in a long time. Whoever wins will have to do some running.
Matthew Ellis More than 1 year ago
He's the real champ a little concerned about race as a prep Hopefully fit enough to win anyway a big fan of this horse
Mark Scheider More than 1 year ago
Been a fan of his since I had $100 to win and place on him live at the BC last year.