NEW YORK (July 31, 2014) – Dogwood Stables’ sensational 4-year-old Palace Malice headlines a star-studded field of nine horses bidding for an automatic berth into the Breeders’ Cup Classic in the $1.5 million Whitney Invitational from historic Saratoga Race Track in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., this Saturday for the live NBC broadcast of the “Summer at Saratoga: Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series” program that will air at 5 p.m. ET.
The Whitney broadcast is the fifth of 11 programs in the Challenge Series leading to the Breeders’ Cup World Championships on NBC and NBCSN, October 31-November 1 from Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif. Saturday’s show will be hosted by Tom Hammond, who will be joined by analysts Randy Moss and Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey, and reporters Donna Brothers and Eddie Olczyk.
Saturday’s show will also include the $500,000 Longines Test Stakes for fillies and mares, to be run at 7/8th of mile.
Trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by John Velazquez, Palace Malice, the even-money favorite for the 1 1/8-mile Whitney, seeks to improve his 2014 record to 5-for-5 with a win on Saturday. Palace Malice, last year’s Belmont Stakes winner, is a son of 2007 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Curlin, and he has risen to the top of the Classic Division ranks this year with a quartet of graded stakes victories. He kicked off his year winning the Gulfstream Park Handicap in March, won the New Orleans Handicap at the Fair Grounds, and at Belmont Park he scored a win in the Westchester Handicap in May and then the Metropolitan Handicap on June 7, where he earned an automatic berth into the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.
Stiff opposition could come from Willis Horton’s 4-1 second choice Will Take Charge, the reigning 3-year-old champion who was second, beaten by just a nose in last year’s Classic for trainer D. Wayne Lukas. The 4-year-old won last year’s Travers Stakes at Saratoga, defeating Palace Malice. He has struggled to find his form this year, though, while going 1-for-5, winning the Oaklawn Handicap to go along with three second-place finishes.
Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider’s Departing will look to win his first career grade I in the Whitney for trainer Al Stall. The 4-year-old son of War Front, with a career mark of 7 for 11, won a trio of graded stakes as a 3-year-old, including grade II scores in the West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer and Super Derby at Louisiana Downs.
Moreno, a 4-year-old son of 2004 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Ghostzapper, will return to the scene of his biggest career run, when he was second, beaten by a nose to Will Take Charge in last year’s Travers for trainer Eric Guillot. Zayat Stable’s Prayer for Relief, trained by Dale Romans, was second in the Suburban Handicap at Belmont on July 5, and has won over $1.7 million in his career.
Magic City Thoroughbred Partners’ Golden Ticket who dead-heated for the win in the Travers in 2012 for trainer Kenny McPeek; Trilogy Stable’s Itsmyluckyday, who enters off a win in Monmouth’s Salvator Mile on July 6 for trainer Eddie Plesa; Godolphin Stable’s Romansh, third to Palace Malice in the Met Mile but a disappointing fifth as the favorite in the Suburban for trainer Tom Albertrani, and The Last Gunfighter, with a win in the Mountainview Handicap Stakes a Penn National two starts this year for trainer Chad Brown, complete the Whitney field.
The Whitney is the fourth of seven “Win and You’re In” races for the Breeders’ Cup Classic by Moonshine Mullin, winner of the Stephen Foster (GI) at Churchill Downs, Majestic Harbor in the Gold Cup at Santa Anita (GI) and Bayern in the William Hill Haskell are the first three to qualify.
“Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In” on NBC Sports Live Extra
NBC Sports Live Extra —NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices, and tablets — will stream this Sunday’s “Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In” coverage including the William Hill Haskell on NBC.
For desktops, NBC Sports Live Extra can be accessed at NBCSports.com/liveextra. The NBC Sports Live Extra app for mobile devices and tablets is available at the App Store for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, and on select Android handset and tablet devices within Google Play and on Windows 8 and Windows mobile devices.
The complete “Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series Win and You’re In” television schedule may be found at the following link: http://challenge.breederscup.com/schedule
About Breeders’ Cup
The Breeders’ Cup administers the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Thoroughbred racing’s year-end Championships. The Breeders’ Cup also administers the Breeders’ Cup Challenge qualifying series, which provides automatic starting positions into the Championships races. The 2014 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, consisting of 13 races and purses totaling $26 million will be held October 31-Nov. 1 at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., and will be televised live by the NBC Sports Group. Breeders’ Cup press releases appear on the Breeders’ Cup Web site, www.breederscup.com. You can also follow the Breeders’ Cup on social media platforms Facebook, Twitter and YouTube
NBC SPORTS GROUP AND HORSE RACING: NBC Sports Group is the exclusive home to the most important and prestigious events in horse racing, including the Triple Crown and the Breeders’ Cup. NBC has been the exclusive home of the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes since 2001, and the Belmont Stakes since 2011, when the NBC Sports Group reassembled the Triple Crown.
The 2014 Belmont Stakes on NBC, featuring California Chrome’s Triple Crown attempt, averaged 20.4 million viewers – the second-highest Belmont Stakes viewership on record, trailing only the 21.9 million viewers for NBC’s telecast of Smarty Jones’ Triple Crown attempt in 2004 (People Meter viewership dates to 1988). In addition, the 2014 Kentucky Derby marked the fourth time in six years (2009, 2010, 2013, 2014) that NBC’s Kentucky Derby coverage averaged more than 15 million viewers, and the 2014 Preakness Stakes registered a 6.0 household rating, ranking as the highest-rated Preakness Stakes since 2009 (6.8 for Rachel Alexandra’s victory).