Fort Larned rolled past pacesetter Endorsement at the top of the lane, stretched his lead to several lengths in mid-stretch, and then held off a late charge from a very wide Ron the Greek to win the Grade 1 Whitney Stakes at Saratoga on Saturday afternoon. Flat Out and Hymn Book picked up the pieces to grab 3rd and 4th, rounding out the tri and superfectas.
Ron the Greek suffered through a brutally wide trip as he was fanned six or seven wide, at minimum, as he came off the far turn. But take nothing away from Fort Larned, he finished up strong and was not under heavy urging at the wire.
With his win in the Whitney, Fort Larned is quiestly putting together an excellent year at the track. He won the ungraded Challenger Stakes at Tamap, the G3-Skip Away and the G3-Cornhusker before today's win. He had an awful race at Churchill Downs in the G1-Stephen Foster but, in retrospect, that race looks like a complete toss.
Fort Larned is a four-year-old colt by E. Dubai out of a Broad Brush mare (Arlucea), trained by Ian Wilkes and ridden by Brian Hernandez, Jr.
Over at Mountaineer, just before the Whitney loaded into the gate, 3/5 favorite Hansen set a contested lead and weakened to fourth in the West Virginia Derby. Macho Macho won the race by a 1/2 length over Bourbon Courage. Called to Serve finished third.
Below are the payouts, fractions and internal splits for the Grade 1 Whitney Handicap:
|6-Ron the Greek||$3.90||$2.90|