Ten Things You Should Know: Whitney
By Kevin Martin, Hello Race Fans Contributing Editor

Originally published on August 5, 2010

Personal Ensign winning the Whitney at Saratoga.
Personal Ensign defeating Gulch in the 1988 Whitney (NYRA/Adam Coglianese)

1) The Whitney is a race held at Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, New York and is one of the most prestigious races for older horses in the United States. This year’s edition is part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge series, the winner will qualify for the Breeders’ Cup Classic in November.

2) The Whitney was run for the first time in 1928 as a memorial race for William Payne Whitney, who died in 1927. He was a member of the famed Whitney family that has had a major influence on American racing and breeding since the late 19th century.

3) Greentree Stable, founded by William Payne Whitney in 1914, won six editions of the race as an owner. C.V. Whitney, William Payne’s nephew, won the family’s namesake race four times.

4) From 1943 to 1945, with Saratoga closed due to travel restrictions during the Second World War, the Whitney was held at Belmont Park.

5) The Whitney has been run at 1 1/8 miles since 1955; prior to that it had been run at 1 1/4 miles.

6) The mare Black Maria won the first edition of the Whitney in 1928. Another female racer, Bateau, a daughter of Man o’ War, won the second edition of the race in 1929. Other fillies or mares to win the Whitney include Esposa (1937), Gallorette (1948), Lady’s Secret (1986), and Personal Ensign (1988).

7) Discovery won three straight editions of the Whitney from 1934 to 1936. Kelso also won the race three times (1961, 1963, 1965).

8) In 1938, Triple Crown winner War Admiral won The Whitney in sweeping the major stakes for older horses at Saratoga. The other races were the Saratoga Cup, Wilson Stakes, and Saratoga Handicap.

9) Dr. Fager won the 1968 running of the Whitney by eight lengths carrying 132 pounds, the most weight ever carried by a Whitney winner.

10) In the 1973 Whitney, in his first start against older horses, the great Secretariat ran second to a horse named Onion. Onion was trained by Allen Jerkens who would defeat Secretariat again later in the year with Prove Out in the Woodward at Belmont Park.

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  • Your article is incorrect. Big Red lost to Prove out in the Woodward Stake. It was Sham and Angle light who beat him in the Wood memorial.

  • Hey Paul: Ouch! Yeah, I butchered that one. Thanks for sending the correction! Kevin

  • No problem the word “Wood” was in the race so that was close enough. I thought it was going direct to your email. Did not want to make it like I was critical of your story. Good reading anyway.

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