There's no doubt that a stakes victory at Saratoga stands alone on its own merits as an accomplishment. But, those same races become key preps when analyzed for the Breeders' Cup. The final weekend in Saratoga featured the Woodward Stakes and a competitive field of familiar older horses created the promised great race and an exciting photo finish!
A trip to the race course would not be complete without a visit with The First Lady of Saratoga, Mary Lou Whitney and her husband John Hendrickson. Mary Lou Whitney, the legendary Saratoga Springs socialite and philanthropist, was the feature character in this year’s ad campaign celebrating Saratoga’s 150thAnniversary. At 87-years-old, Whitney pokes fun at herself saying in the ad "I think the only thing older than me, in Saratoga, is the race track! Everyone loves a party, darling. So don't miss Saratoga's biggest celebration in history."
The same may be said about the Breeders’ Cup as both Mary Lou and John have announced their plans to attend.
This is the margin of victory of Alpha over Flat Out in the Woodward Stakes
Eventual winner of the Woodward Stakes, Alpha, in the paddock. Alpha won the race in wire-to-wire fashion on a sloppy track. With his victory, Alpha becomes one of only a few horses to win both the Travers Stakes and Woodward Stakes in consecutive years. The Travers and the Woodward are two of the most prestigious races at the Saratoga Race Meet.
Woodward Stakes runner-up Flat Out. As a physicality handicapper, Flat Out looked like the clear winner in the paddock prior to the race. Based on his appearance factors of weight, condition of his coat, daples, attitude and focus while in the paddock and warm up, I ended up wheeling him in an exacta on the top and bottom of the ticket and received a handsome pay-off as Alpha left the gate as the long shot of the race. Flat Out made a huge stretch run but came up a nose short of victory.
Both horses will be pointed toward the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita this Fall!