Whitney Recap – Super Screener
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Whitney Recap

2015 Whitney Stakes (G1) post race recap

The Whitney is always one of the very best races of the year and the 2015 version looked like it was going to live up to that history.  And it certainly did.  One can argue that the Whitney was the racing at its best in 2015, American Pharoah performances excluded of course.  In our preview we laid out a couple basic opinions.  We thought Liam’s Map was the mostly likely winner and offered tremendous value at 6-1 on the ML, we thought the New York preps were better than Kentucky’s Stephen Foster, we thought Tonalist was a lock to hit the board, and we thought Honor Code was a vulnerable favorite.  We were dead wrong about one of those but pretty spot on about the rest.

Liam’s Map, quickly used his speed to grab the lead.  Instead of easing back and trying to conserve energy, Mike Smith let Liam’s Map roll and tried to run the field into the ground by setting red hot fractions of 22.79, 46 flat and 1:09.72.  We aren’t saying Smith did a bad job, in fact we like the aggressiveness.  The horses who were in shouting distance of Liam’s Mapwere Moreno, Noble Bird, Normandy Invasion and Lea.  That group of 4 also happened to be the last 4 horses to cross the wire.  Besides, Liam’s Map, the only horse who was even remotely close to the pace and hit the board was our top longshot, Wicked Strong.

Entering the backside, Wicked Strong was the final horse in the lead pack, and there was a 15 (!) length gap back to Tonalist and fellow closers V.E. Day and Honor Code.  The two packs were so far apart, that the closers didn’t even appear on the Trackus screen until midway on the final turn!  At certain points in the race, Liam’s Map had a 20 length lead on Honor Code.

By the time they straightened out for the stretch drive, Liam’s Map had buried all the horses in the lead pack and looked like a sure winner.  Meanwhile, Honor Code saved ground around the turn and was motoring to the wire with Tonalist following his path all the way.  It looked likeHonor Code had no shot even at the 50 yard marker, but his last strides were so long and powerful that he nailed Liam’s Map on the final jump.  Tonalist was a fast closing 3rd a couple lengths back with another clear gap back to Wicked Strong in 4th.     

Going forward to the Breeders’ Cup Classic, as we pointed out in our preview, Liam’s Map has worlds of talent but we don’t know if he’s durable enough to put forth big efforts consistently. He may be like past Whitney champ Commentator, a horse who has one or two monstrous races in him each year but can’t keep on a regular schedule due to health reasons.

It is clear now that Honor Code and Tonalist are easily the best two older horses in America. It’s going to be a great showdown with American Pharoah at Keeneland.  Lastly, Wicked Strong ran a sneaky good race, look to back him next time out.

WINNER: Honor Code  

TRACK BIAS: none

TOUGH TRIP: Liam’s Map ran out of his mind considering the pace he set and easily put on one of the performances of the year

IMPRESSIVE EFFORTLiam’s Map ran too good to lose and Honor Code proved all his two-turn haters wrong (including us), what a great race by two true G1 talents

SUPER SCREENER PRE-RACE QUALITY RATING: A+

SUPER SCREENER POST-RACE QUALITY RATING: A+