Historic race offers place in the $6 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic for the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series
SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY — Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) winner Life Is Good and Stephen Foster Stakes (G2) winner of the Olympiad lead the 1 1/8 mile and $1 million Whitney Stakes (G1) on the Saratoga Race Course as Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series continues live on NBC and Peacock this Saturday from 5 p.m. ET, with an automatic starting position for the $6 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at stake .
The Whitney show is the fourth show this year in the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In – Presented by America’s Best Racing on NBC, CNBC and Peacock from some of North America’s most famous racetracks. The series leads to the 39th Breeders’ Cup World Championships on November 4-5 at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky. The TV program for the series can be found here.
Saturday’s program will also include the $500,000 Longines Test Stakes (G1) for 3-year-old fillies.
NBC’s coverage will feature commentary and discussion from host Britney Eurton, analyst Randy Moss and Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey, a 15-time Breeders’ Cup winner including five victories in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic; Reporter Nick Luck and handicapper Eddie Olczyk.
The favorites of the 6-5 morning line Life is good, a 4-year-old colt by CHC Inc. and WinStar Farm LLC and trained by Todd Pletcher, has won seven of nine starts. He won the Big Ass Fans Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) in Del Mar last year and opened this year by beating last year’s Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Knicks Go by 3 ¼ lengths at the Pegasus World Cup Invitational im Gulfstream Park in January. After finishing fourth at the Dubai World Cup (G1) in March, Life Is Good conquered the 7-meter John A. Nerud Stakes (G2) at Belmont Park on July 2 by 5 lengths. Life Is Good will be driven by Irad Ortiz Jr. from post six.
Grandview Equine, Cheyenne Stable, LLC and LNJ Foxwoods’ Olympics, the 2-1 second pick, is unbeaten in five starts this year. He won his last two races at Churchill Downs and took over the Alysheba Stakes (G2). Happy saverand then automatically secured a place in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic on July 2 when he won the 1 1/8 mile Stephen Foster Stakes by 2 ¼ lengths over Americanrevolution.
Olympiad is coached by Bill Mott, who led Cigar to an unbeaten 10-win season in 1995, culminating in a win in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Mott also won the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Classic with Drosselmeyer. Olympiad is ridden fourth by Junior Alvarado.
Boat Racing, LLC, Gainesway Stable, Roadrunner Racing and William Strauss’ 4-year-old Hot Rod Charlie will be making his Saratoga debut. Coached by Doug O’Neill, Hot Rod Charlie, who won last year’s Pennsylvania Derby (G1), finished second at this year’s Dubai World Cup and second at the Salvator Mile (G2) at Monmouth Park on June 18th. Aiming for his fifth career, Hot Rod Charlie will be ridden by Flavien Prat from the two post.
Pletcher has two other starters for Whitney in CHC Inc. and WinStar Farm LLC American Revolution, and Wertheimer and Frere’s Happy Saver. 4-year-old Americanrevolution, winner of last year’s Cigar Mile (G1), has won five out of nine starts. Americanrevolution finished fourth in the Listed Blame Stakes at Churchill Downs on June 4 before finishing second in Stephen Foster. Luis Saez has the mount and breaks off post one.
2020 Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) winner Happy Saver is aiming for his first win this year. After finishing second in the Alysheba, the 5-year-old finished second at the Hill ‘N’ Dale Metropolitan Handicap (G1) at Belmont behind Flightline, the highest-scoring horse in the latest Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic rankings at Park on 11 June. John Velazquez has the mount on Happy Saver and breaks off the second post.
Gary Barber’s 6 year old gelding zoomers enters a Class 1 company for the first time. Zoomer, a son of 2007 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner Curlin, won a 1 1/8 mile race at Saratoga on July 17 by 7 lengths. Zoomer, trained by Mark Casse, will be ridden by Joel Rosario from third on.
As part of the Challenge Series benefits, the Breeders’ Cup will pay the entry fees for the Whitney winner to enter the World Championships. The Breeders’ Cup will also award a travel allowance of US$10,000 to all competitors who are based outside of Kentucky to attend the World Championships.
Over the years, the Whitney and the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic have had a strong connection. Six Whitney winners also won the Classic in the same year: Awesome Again (1998), Invasor (ARG) (2006), Blame (2010), Fort Larned (2012), Gun Runner (2017), and Knicks Go (2021).
In the 7 Furlong Longines Test Stakes, Godolphins Matareya is the prohibitive favorite due to her four wins from four starts this year. Matareya, coached by Brad Cox, comes into the Test on June 11 with a 6 ¼ long win in the 1-mile Acorn Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park. Michael Dubb and Michael J. Caruso’s Hot Peppers have won five starts out of six that year, including the Victory Ride (G3) at Belmont on July 9 for coach Rudy Rodriguez.
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Press release on the Breeders’ Cup
Photo: Life Is Good (NYRA/Coglianese)