Whitney

Life Is Good Shows Speed, Heart in Whitney Triumph

Life Is Good (Into Mischief) caught a flier right out of the gate, strutted his stuff up front for six furlongs and fought off a pair of stubborn challengers through the Saratoga stretch to capture Saturday's $1-million GI Whitney S., punch his ticket to the GI Longines Breeders' Cup Classic and stick his nose in front of a crowded Horse of the Year race. Running away to a 9 1/2-length debut romp and 'TDN Rising Star' honors for Bob Baffert in November of 2020 at Del Mar, the $525,000 Keeneland...

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Barry Spears Joins Bettor Things with Joe Bianca

Barry "The Sniper" Spears, a successful handicapping tournament player, public handicapper, podcast host and influential voice in the world of horse racing Twitter, joined the latest episode of Bettor Things with Joe Bianca this week for a wide-ranging conversation on topics inside the sport and out. Spears has been an outspoken advocate for better minority representation in racing, and talked to Bianca about the importance of pointing out the subtle racism that the industry has been slow to address over the years. Spears and Bianca also discussed the good, bad...

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Life is Good for Pletcher Heading into the Whitney

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY - At this time last year, trainer Todd Pletcher and his staff were getting to know Life Is Good (Into Mischief). Some 400 days after he arrived and with four wins from six races, the bay colt is an unquestioned standout in Pletcher's powerful and deep stable. Up next for Life Is Good in a season that could yield an Eclipse Award and possibly even a Horse of the Year title is the $1-million GI Whitney S. Saturday at Saratoga Race Course. The historic Whitney, first run...

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Life Is Good, Olympiad Headed for Whitney Clash

The connections of impressive Saturday graded stakes winners Life Is Good (Into Mischief) and Olympiad (Speightstown) reported Sunday that both horses came out of their efforts well and are likely headed for a star-studded matchup in the Aug. 6 GI Whitney S. at Saratoga. Life Is Good, this year's GI Pegasus World Cup Invitational S. romper, bounced back from a fourth-place finish in the G1 Dubai World Cup with a dominant five-length score in Saturday's GII John Nerud S. at Belmont, earning a 112 Beyer, tied for the second-highest figure...

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Knicks Go to Stand at Taylor Made

Four-time Grade I winner and one of the favorites for 2021 Horse of the Year Knicks Go (Paynter--Kosmo's Buddy, by Outflanker) will retire to Taylor Made Stallions at the conclusion of his racing career, the farm announced Monday. Campaigned by Korea Racing Authority, Knicks Go is currently the top-ranked older horse on the NTRA Thoroughbred Poll as he prepares for his next start in the $6-million GI Breeders' Cup Classic at Del Mar Nov. 6. A stud fee will be announced after the Breeders' Cup. "The KRA's goal was to...

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Knicks Go Meets Maxfield in Star-Studded Whitney

For a race that offers just a five-horse field, Saturday's GI Whitney S. at Saratoga will nevertheless feature plenty of intrigue, as two of the handicap division's top stars will meet the one-two finishers from the GI Metropolitan H. and a certain champion filly whose trainer called an audible to enter her in the meet centerpiece for older horses, a "Win and You're In" qualifier for the GI Longines Breeders' Cup Classic. Given the morning-line at 6-5 is the Korea Racing Authority's enigmatic star speedball Knicks Go (Paynter). A shocking...

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NYRA Announces Saratoga Post Times

The New York Racing Association announced post times for the 40-day summer meet at historic Saratoga, which will feature 76 stakes worth $21.5 million in total purses. With the exception of Travers Day, Whitney Day and closing weekend, first post on live race days will be 1:05 p.m. First post for the GI Runhappy Travers Day card Aug. 28 will be 11:35 a.m. GI Whitney S. Day Aug. 7 kicks off with a 12:35 p.m. first post. Closing weekend of the Saratoga meet will offer a 12:35 p.m. post time...

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Longtime NYRA Assistant Starter Jimmy Tsitsiragos Dies

James (Jimmy) Tsitsiragos, a longtime assistant starter at the New York Racing Association, passed away Tuesday, Feb. 16 at the age of 71. Born Aug. 6, 1949 in Leonia, New Jersey, Tsitsiragos graduated from Leonia High School in 1967 where he was a beloved football legend nicknamed by his classmates as "Zorba the Greek." He then attended Texas A&M University as a walk-on for the football team and quickly earned a full scholarship under Head Coach Gene Stallings. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics in 1972, he...

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Week in Review: Faves Fail to Show on Saturday, but Excuses Abound

This past Saturday wasn't a great day to be a favorite in an open stakes race at the nation's premier race meets. Chalk horses went a collective one-for-seven at Saratoga and Del Mar, and the list of excuses included stutter-step starts, bumps leaving the gate, stretch-run roughhousing, getting disqualified, and being dueled into defeat in internal pace battles. Tight finishes in several stakes elevated the interest level, although the results in general did not lend clarity to the nationwide divisional races with the GI Kentucky Derby inside the five-week mark...

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Improbable Provides Baffert With Back-to-Back Whitneys

'TDN Rising Star' Improbable (City Zip) scored back-to-back Grade I victories and provided his conditioner Bob Baffert with his second straight renewal of Saratoga's prestigious GI Whitney S. Saturday with a dominant score in this 'Win and You're In' event for the GI Breeders' Cup Classic. Heavily Favored Tom's d'Etat (Smart Strike) missed the break and was relegated to last early as native New Yorker Mr Buff (Friend or Foe) took command, loping through early splits of :25.12 and :49.74 with 3-1 shot Improbable keeping close tabs from second. Improbable...

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McGaughey Looks to Add to Whitney 'Honor' Roll

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- Following the draw for the GI Whitney S. Wednesday morning, trainer Shug McGaughey answered more questions about his previous Whitney winners than this year's runner, Code of Honor (Noble Mission {GB}). McGaughey, a member of racing's Hall of Fame since 2004, will try for his fourth victory in Saratoga's premier dirt race for older horses Saturday with William Farish's 4-year-old homebred colt. The chestnut drew in the middle of the strong five-horse field, that features Tom's d'Etat (Smart Strike), who has won four straight stakes, and...

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Runhappy Travers Moved to Aug. 8 in Newly Released Saratoga Stakes Schedule

The GI Runhappy Travers S, normally run on the next-to-last weekend of the Saratoga meet, has been moved up to Aug. 8. The shift of the Travers date was one of a handful of changes made to the 2020 Saratoga stakes schedule, which was released Friday by the New York Racing Association. Had the Travers stayed in its normal slot on the calendar, it would have been run Aug. 29, just one week before the repositioned GI Kentucky Derby. With the race having been moved back three weeks, it sets...

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