08/03/2011 2:00PM

Saratoga: Older males take center stage for Whitney


Last weekend was for the 3-year-olds in the Haskell and Jim Dandy. Now the older males enter the spotlight in the Whitney Invitational this Saturday at Saratoga. Five of the top 10 horses in Mike Watchmaker's latest rankings were included in the 11-horse draw: Tizway, Mission Impazible, Apart, Rail Trip, and Friend Or Foe.

Being seasoned veterans of the stakes circuit, most of these horses have met at least once already this year. Let's take a look at their form, starting with Tizway's third-place showing in the hyper-competitive Charles Town Classic on April 16, a race in which all 10 entrants were graded-stakes winners. Like the Whitney, the Charles Town Classic was a 1 1/8-mile race, albeit going three turns on the bullring track.

WHITNEY INVITATIONAL: Videos, news, PPs, and chat LIVE with The Wizard about the race on Thursday at 1 pm ET.

April 16: Charles Town Classic (Grade 3)

Duke of Mischief wins, with Game On Dude taking second by a neck over a late-charging Tizway, who is co-third choice at 6-1 on the morning line for the Whitney.

May 30: Met Mile (Grade 1)

Away from the quirky oval at Charles Town, Tizway was back in his element in this one-turn mile at Belmont Park. Tizway pulled away after the turn to win easily and post a 113 Beyer Speed Figure in the process.

Fellow Whitney entrant Rodman, at 36-1, charged late for second, more than five lengths ahead of third-place Caixa Eletronica.

June 5: Easy Goer

Rail Trip and Friend Or Foe made their 2011 debuts here, with the favored Friend Or Foe rallying late to win by a head in this 1 1/16-mile, one-turn race at Belmont Park.

June 18: Stephen Foster (Grade 1)

Pool Play (36-1) continued a tradition of longshots winning this premier summer race, beating Whitney entrant Mission Impazible by a neck. Apart was third.

From the race recap by DRF.com's Marty McGee: "Down the backside, Mission Impazible moved to challenge, and by the time the field straightened away, it was game on. Duke of Mischief made a huge outside move to poke his head in front near the furlong grounds, but Mission Impazible, a 7-1 shot with Javier Castellano aboard, battled back to reclaim the lead in the desperate final yards. Meanwhile, Pool Play had saved ground until Mena wheeled him out for the drive. ... Castellano said he was 'very proud' of Mission Impazible. 'He relaxed, and he really fought for me. Unfortunately, the head-bob got us.' Apart, among the stalkers throughout, continued resolutely to finish third, another 1 1/4 lengths behind Mission Impazible. It was another half-length to Duke of Mischief, followed by Giant Oak, Flat Out, Crown of Thorns, Worldly, Equestrio, El Caballo, and Regal Ransom." Churchill Downs: Pool Play upsets Stephen Foster Handicap in first dirt try

June 25: Cornhusker Handicap (Grade 3)

Headache showcased his late speed by blistering down the stretch to defeat favored Awesome Gem in the 1 1/8-mile Cornhusker. He'll be an outsider in this Whitney field as he heads east to race with the big boys.

July 2: Suburban Handicap (Grade 2)

Two of the top three finishers will all be in the Whitney: Flat Out and Rodman. Flat Out, at 13-1, came out of nowhere to demolish the field (113 Beyer). Rodman followed his Met Mile place with a show finish here.


WHITNEY INVITATIONAL: Videos, news, PPs, and chat LIVE with The Wizard about the race on Thursday at 1 pm ET.