Improbable Wins Whitney at Saratoga and Earns Automatic Berth into Longines Breeders' Cup Classic
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (Aug. 1, 2020) – WinStar Farm, China Horse Club and SF Racing’s 4-year-old Improbable ($8.50) won Saturday’s 1 1/8-mile Whitney (G1) at Saratoga Race Course by two lengths, and became the fourth horse this year to earn an automatic berth into the $7 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) through the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series.
The Breeders’ Cup Challenge is an international series of stakes races whose winners receive automatic starting positions and fees paid into a corresponding race of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which is scheduled to be held at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky, on Nov. 6-7.
Trained by Bob Baffert and ridden by Irad Ortiz, Jr., Improbable won his sixth race in 13 starts, completing the 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.65 over a fast track. Allied Racing Stable's By My Standards, ridden by Jose Ortiz and trained by Bret Calhoun, finished ahead of Tom's d'Etat, ridden by Joel Rosario, by a half-length for runner-up honors. Tom’s d’Etat, the even-money favorite, stumbled badly at the start and came out of the gate last.
Improbable joins previous Classic “Win and You’re In” qualifiers Capital System’s 6-year-old Mozu Ascot, winner of the February Stakes (G1) at Tokyo Racecourse on Feb. 23; GMB Racing’s 7-year-old Tom’ d’Etat, winner of the Stephen Foster Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs on June 27, and Spendthrift Farm, MyRaceHorse Stable, Madaket Stables and Starlight Racing’s 3-year-old Authentic, also trained by Baffert, who won the TVG.com Haskell Stakes (G1) at Monmouth Park on July 18.
Improbable bested the five-horse field to notch his second consecutive Grade 1 victory following his 3 ¼-length score in the Hollywood Gold Cup on June 6 at Santa Anita. The City Zip colt was shipped to New York for the first time off that race, and the trek netted the conditioner his second straight Whitney win, following McKinzie last year.
"Finally, he's grown up a little bit. He turned into a nice horse," said Ortiz, Jr. "Mr. Baffert did a great job with him. He broke really good today. Honestly, I just took a little hold. I know Mr. Buff, he's the speed of the race and I sat second. Last time, [Drayden] Van Dyke rode him second in the clear and he ran so good, so I just tried to do the same thing."
Code of Honor, trained by Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey, was bidding to become the first horse to capture the Travers, Jockey Club Gold Cup and Whitney in a career since the McGaughey-conditioned Easy Goer in 1989. The 4-year-old son of Noble Mission finished fourth, with the New York-bred Mr. Buff completing the order of finish. As part of the benefits of the Challenge Series, Breeders’ Cup will pay the $150,000 in entry fee and guarantee a starting position for Blank to start in the Classic, which will be run at 1 ¼ miles on the main track at Keeneland . In addition, Breeders’ Cup will provide a $10,000 travel allowance for starters within North America that are stabled outside of Kentucky.
ABOUT BREEDERS’ CUP
The Breeders’ Cup administers the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Thoroughbred horse racing’s year-end Championships, as well as the Breeders’ Cup Challenge qualifying series, which provides automatic starting positions into the Championships races. The Breeders’ Cup is also a founding member of the Thoroughbred Safety Coalition, an organization composed of industry leaders committed to advancing safety measures in Thoroughbred racing and improving the well-being of equine and human athletes.
The 2020 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, consisting of 14 Championship races, will be held on November 6-7 at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky and features a total of $35 million in purses and awards. The event will be televised live by the NBC Sports Group. Breeders’ Cup press releases appear on the Breeders’ Cup website, breederscup.com. You can also follow the Breeders’ Cup on social media.
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