Win and you're in the Breeders' Cup Classic. That's all the owners of the 10 horses who will go to post on Saturday at the Whitney Handicap care about. This Grade 1 race has a $1.25 million purse to be had, but the bigger reward for the winner is a coveted spot in one of the richest races in the world, the Breeders' Cup Classic.
1: Honor Code 3/1
2: Tonalist 4/1
3: Noble Bird 5/1
4: Liam's Map 6/1
5: Moreno 12/1
6: V.E. Day 8/1
7: Lea 9/2
8: Coach Inge 15/1
9: Wicked Strong 20/1
10: Normandy Invasion 30/1
It's not all that often that you see a race where there isn't better than a 3 to 1 shot when there are only 10 horses in the field. Outside of Normandy Invasion, you could probably make a great case for any of these other nine horses to win on Saturday.
The favorites all seem to be stacked to the inside aside from Lea, who will break from the seventh post. Closer, Honor Code will start out on the rail, right next to Tonalist, who has the best ranking according to Prime Power in this field.
Keep a close eye as well on horses like Moreno at 12 to 1 and Wicked Strong at 20 to 1, as you just don't see those colts have prices like that on their heads no matter where they run.
FAVORITE TO FOLLOW
Tonalist continues to run across some bad luck. In his last five races, he’s turned Beyer Speed Ratings of 110, 105, 106, 105 and 105, yet only has two wins in those five races. He was beaten by Honor Code in the Metropolitan Handicap, but this might very well be his day to get some vengeance.
Remember that Tonalist was a 4 to 1 favorite at the Breeders' Cup last year, and there is nothing this colt has done to make us believe he’s any less of a horse now than he was at that point.
UNDERDOG TO WATCH
We're a year removed from Wicked Strong winning the Wood Memorial and finishing fourth in both the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes, but for our money, this is a fantastic price.
Wicked Strong hasn't been on his game of late, as he hasn't won since the Jim Dandy Stakes over a calendar year ago, but he has trained well at short distances and might be better served running against a field without many real speed balls.
ANALYSIS AND PREDICTION
Moreno had one really bad start at the Gold Cup in June, but aside from that, he has been a great pony to follow throughout his career, while even the longest shot, Normandy Invasion has seven Top 2 finishes in his career.
Expect to see Coach Inge get out to the lead in this race as he has for the most part his entire career, and he'll be a tough one to run down if he posts a fourth straight race with at least a 107 Beyer.
Honor Code might be the favorite, but Tonalist is the better horse and the best one in this field. We have to imagine that 105 is going to be good enough to get the job done, and if that holds true, we have more confidence in Tonalist putting together that run than any other pony.
Play Tonalist to win the Whitney Handicap
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