Vanderbilt Stakes Odds: Ryvit Headlines a Fleet Field of Six Sophomore Sprinters

Written by: Brian Zipse
Published July 26, 2023
6 min read

Vanderbilt Stakes Odds and Post Positions

Check out our predictions and odds for the Vanderbilt Stakes at Saratoga!










J Ortiz

J Chapman





J Lezcano

L Rice





M Garcia

D Romans





I Ortiz Jr

B Walsh





R Santana Jr

S Asmussen





T Gaffalione

J Delgado

*Odds provided by author Brian Zipse.

Vanderbilt Stakes Predictions and Best Bets

Here are my plays ($60 in total)

  • $10 Exacta Box - Gilmore and Deer District  = $20 
  • $10 Exacta Box - Gilmore and Ryvit  = $20 
  • $10 Exacta Box - Gilmore and Drew’s Gold  = $20 

If you're playing only to win, go with my top pick Gilmore (7/2).    

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Vanderbilt Stakes Saratoga Predictions

A winner of five straight races, Ryvit headlines a fleet field of six sophomore sprinters set for Friday’s Grade 2 Vanderbilt Stakes at Saratoga.

Trained by Steve Asmussen, who has won this 6 1/2-furlong affair a record six times, the son of Competitive Edge colt took four tries to break his maiden but hasn’t lost since. 

In his last three, he has streaked to victory in the Bachelor in April at Oaklawn, the Grade 3 Chick Lang in May at Pimlico,  and the Maxfield less than four weeks ago at Ellis Park.

Chief among the challengers to Ryvit in Amsterdam is the once-beaten Violence colt Drew’s Gold.

Unbeaten in his first four starts, including a pair of listed stakes victories in New York, he ran a game second in the Grade 1 Woody Stephens at Belmont Park seven weeks ago. 

Another who should receive plenty of support at the betting windows is the third-place finisher in the Woody Stephens, Gilmore. 

A horse who likes to come from off the pace in a race with abundant early speed, he has finished in the top three in three consecutive graded stakes for trainer Brendan Walsh.

Vanderbilt Stakes Predictions and Race Analysis


This son of Competitive Edge marches into Saratoga on a five race winning streak and looks to give his Hall of Fame trainer, Steve Asmussen, his seventh win in the Grade 2 Amsterdam. 

A deserving favorite, he has been taking the race to his competition early and they’ve had no answers. This looks to be his toughest test yet, though, as he faces both strong competition, but also horses with plenty of early speed. 

It will be interesting to see if he is at any point able to get a breather on Friday. He certainly could win anyway, but I am willing to take a small shot against him as the favorite.

Drew’s Gold

Another colt with strong early speed, this son of Violence has been very good in all five career starts for trainer James Chapman. After four impressive wins to start his career, he showed his class last time by staying on well for second in the Grade 1 Woody Stephens. 

I am not sure this spot is any easier, but the cutback to 6 1/2-furlongs could suit him. If he can stay out of a speed duel that will be his best chance to win, but it looks like the pace will be very strong and I can’t imagine him being too far from it. 

A bargain yearling purchase at $25,000, he is a major contender to get his biggest win yet, but not my favorite for the top spot.


With all the early speed signed on for this 6 ½-furlong affair, this Brendan Walsh-trainee should not have any trouble cutting back to his shortest race since his career debut. 

He’s been knocking on the door of late with solid efforts in strong races and looks to be in career best form for this one. The top two are certainly more accomplished, but this could be the race where the son of Twirling Candy gets the perfect pace set up. 

He will probably get plenty of attention at the betting windows as the likely third choice, but I slightly favor him because of the race dynamics. He is the top pick.

New York Thunder

This son of Nyquist has done absolutely nothing wrong in his first three starts for trainer Jorge Delgado. In fact, he has dominated his competition with a strong dose of early speed. 

He’ll not only face much tougher competition in this one, but he’ll also be running on dirt for the first time after winning on turf and synthetics in his first three. His workouts on dirt say he’ll handle it, but it’s a tough spot to make your dirt debut. 

His win in the Woodstock last time is impressive enough to consider in here, but I think the speed of others on Friday will be his undoing.

Joey Freshwater

A nice winner of the Grade 3 Bay Shore earlier this year at Aqueduct, this son of Jimmy Creed has not been quite good enough in his four subsequent tries against stakes competition. 

Things will get no easier on Friday. He will add blinkers, hoping to add focus, but if he tries to go early after the speed in this one, I think that will be a tricky proposition. 

Trained by Linda Rice, the graded stakes winner cannot be dismissed in the quality six-horse field, but for me, he is the least likely winner of the bunch.

Deer District

This chestnut colt comes in off a romping allowance win at Churchill Downs for trainer Dale Romans. Twice second in stakes races on the turf as a 2-year-old, the son of Oscar Performance has transitioned smoothly to sprinting on the dirt this year. 

After rallying for a decent third in a Keeneland allowance to start the season, he faced very good horses two starts back and again rallied for third. Finding an easier spot last time, he got a fast pace to run at and rolled home easily as he pleased. 

He will once again have a fast early pace to run at here, and while this is top competition, his last tells me he is ready for the assignment. He is a very interesting longshot on Friday.

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How to Watch the Vanderbilt Stakes

Vanderbilt Stakes Race Information

  • What: Vanderbilt Stakes (Grade 2) 
  • Location: Saratoga
  • Time: Friday, July 28 --- 6:18 pm Eastern time
  • How to Watch: Fox Sports
  • Purse: $200,000
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Brian Zipse

Horse Racing Betting Analyst

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Taken to the races at a very young age, Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Professionally, his work has been published on several leading industry sites. Brian served as the Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, where he still writes a regular column and hosts the popular weekly webcast HorseCenter.
Nationality: American
Education: Bachelor of Communications
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