Whitney Stakes (Saratoga) Predictions, Odds & Picks

Whitney Stakes 2020

If you're playing only to win, go with my top pick, Code of Honor (5/2)

Whitney Stakes Post Position and Odds

Check out our predictions and odds for the 2020 Whitney Stakes at Saratoga!

PP Horse Odds Jockey Trainer
J Ortiz B Calhoun
I Ortiz Jr B Baffert
J R Velazquez C McGaughey
4 MR. BUFF 15/1
J Alvarado J C Kimmel
5 TOM’S D’ETAT 7/5
J Rosario A Stall Jr.

Best Bets for the Whitney Stakes

Here are my plays ($30 in total)

$20 Exacta – Code of Honor over Tom’s d’Etat = $20
$10 Exacta – Code of Honor over Improbable = $10

Our Pick:

Code of Honor (5/2).

How to watch the Whitney Stakes

Whitney Stakes Information

What Whitney Stakes (G1)
Where Saratoga
When Saturday, August 1 — 5:42 pm Eastern time
How to Watch Fox Sports 1
Purse $750,000

Riding an impressive four-race winning streak, Tom’s d’Etat faces his toughest assignment yet as the horse to beat when he faces several of the top older males in the nation on Saturday in the Grade 1 Whitney Stakes at Saratoga.

The winning streak for the 7-year-old son of Smart Strike began last October with a romping win in Keeneland’s Fayette (G2) and most recently includes a statement-making victory in the Stephen Foster (G1) at Churchill Downs. The 4 ¼-length win on June 27 may be the best race yet for the winner of an 11-of-18 lifetime. The early favorite for the 2020 Breeders’ Cup Classic will break from the outside post in the field of five with Joel Rosario in the saddle.

Chief among his competition in the 9 furlong Whitney will be last year’s Travers (G1) winner Code of Honor. The son of Noble Mission is undefeated in two career starts at Saratoga for trainer Shug McGaughey, and enters the Whitney off a rallying third-place finish in the prestigious Met Mile (G1). Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez will ride the multiple Grade 1 winner.

Adding to the anticipation for the $750,000 feature at Saratoga is the pair of Improbable, another multiple Grade 1 winner who won the Hollywood Gold Cup with ease in his latest, and By My Standards, who had his three-race winning streak snapped when second to Tom’s d’etat in the Foster last time out.

As part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series, the Whitney will provide the winner with an automatic berth into this year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) on November 7 at Keeneland.

Race Analysis

Tom’s d’Etat

Flashback ten years and you’ll see a very similar scenario unfolding for trainer Al Stall Jr. Back then it was Blame who came to the Whitney and won it over a small but strong field on his way to Breeders’ Cup Classic glory. This time around, the New Orleans native has another star who is putting it all together in Tom’s d’Etat. He’s run twice this year and both were outstanding. Obviously the Foster, but also the Oaklawn Mile where he really had to run big to nail Improbable in the last 100 yards. Given his recent form, running style, and his liking of the main track at Saratoga, he has every reason in the world to be the race favorite. Perhaps the way to beat him will be from a swooping move from behind. I have big respect for the oldest horse in the field, but in this one, as a big favorite, I will take a small shot to beat him.

Code of Honor

After flourishing in the middle part of his sophomore season with impressive consecutive performances in the Dwyer, Travers, and Jockey Club Gold Cup, he should be ready to run his best in his third start of this year. In the Met Mile, he fell victim to a speed favoring strip and a quality horse in Vekoma running without much pressure on the early lead. Now, with a furlong further to run in the Whitney, and none of the other four horses wanting to be too far off the early pace, he should get a better race set-up. Couple both of those factors with the fact that he clearly enjoys his summers at Saratoga, and it all tells me that he has a big shot to uncoil his late rally and go from last to first on Saturday. Despite the daunting presence of Tom’s d’Etat, he is the top pick.


Granted he was not quite good enough in the biggest races last year, but this appears to be a new and improved version of the two-time Grade 1 winner now as a 4-year-old. His win in the 10 furlong Hollywood Gold Cup (G1) last time eased the notion that the losing favorite in both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness can’t get the distance. Back at perhaps a more preferable distance of 1 ⅛-miles on Saturday, he should make his presence felt with his good tactical speed on the far turn. Will it be enough to hold off the likes of Tom’s d’Etat and Code of Honor? Probably not, but I would expect his third strong race in as many tries in the 2020 season.

By My Standards

After a sensational start to his 4-year-old season with three impressive victories, the Bret Calhoun-trainee was beaten soundly in a showdown with Tom’s d’Etat in the Stephen Foster. He’ll take another shot at the current leader of the division on Saturday, and it will be interesting to see if there’s a change in tactics. Last time he fell too far behind the favorite and had little hope in running him down in the stretch. In the Whitney, I’ll expect a more aggressive ride from new jockey Jose Ortiz when he breaks from the rail, but with the speedy Mr. Buff in here, as well as, Improbable just to his outside, it still looks like a very difficult test for the classy son of Goldencents.

Mr. Buff

The one true longshot in the field, he is also the horse with the most natural speed. The 6-year-old millionaire is no stranger to the winner’s circle, having accounted for 14 career wins, the majority of them coming in stakes races. He’s never won anything as important as the Whitney, though, and the presence of the other four promise a formidable task. He’ll likely go right out to the lead and see how far he can carry his speed, but the Whitney will likely prove a little beyond his paygrade.

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Brian Zipse

Expert on Horse Racing

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.

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