2021 Whitney Cheatsheet
By TwinSpires Editorial Team, Sponsored Content
By James Scully (TwinSpires.com)
1. BY MY STANDARDS (10-1) is the only member of the field without a Grade 1 victory, but the four-time Grade 2 winner remains dangerous. A good second to Improbable in last year’s Whitney, the five-year-old will make his third start of the season after a win in the Oaklawn Mile S. and a fine runner-up effort in the Met Mile (G1). By My Standards should appreciate the added ground Saturday (6-3-2-0 record at 1 1/8-mile distance), and the Bret Calhoun-trained stalker will look to save ground before offering his best.
2. SILVER STATE (4-1) has won six straight, including four stakes this year, since returning from a seven-month layoff last fall. Conditioned by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, the four-year-old Hard Spun colt colt notched his first graded win in the Oaklawn H. (G2) two back, and Silver State stepped up with an outstanding one-length triumph in the June 5 Met Mile (G1) at Belmont Park. His Brisnet Speed ratings are increasing, producing triple-digit numbers in the last two outings, and he’s versatile enough to be placed anywhere in the early stages by Ricardo Santana Jr. Silver State will look to make his presence felt in the final furlongs.
3. SWISS SKYDIVER (6-1) didn’t fire her best shot when third most recently in the April 17 Apple Blossom H. (G1), checking in third behind Letruska and Monomoy Girl, but the four-year-old filly has rebounded stylishly from her last three setbacks. After weakening to second in the Blue Grass (G2) last summer, the Kenny McPeek trainee came back to convincingly win the Alabama S. (G1) at Saratoga. And she bounced back from a loss in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) with an exceptional victory in the Preakness (G1), gamely defeating eventual Horse of the Year Authentic after a stretch-long duel. Swiss Skydiver has the speed to establish a favorable forward trip on Saturday. She faces a serious class check, but the hard-trying filly can’t be dismissed from top three consideration.
4. KNICKS GO (6-5) rates as a serious wire-to-wire threat. A spectacular winner of the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) and Pegasus World Cup (G1), the gray five-year-old dropped back-to-back starts, finishing fourth in the Saudi Cup (G1) and Met Mile (G1), before smartly reverting back to form in the July 2 Prairie Meadows Cornhusker H. (G3), netting a Whitney field-best 111 Brisnet Speed rating for the 10-length decision. It will be interesting to see whether Swiss Skydiver can apply any pressure upon Knicks Go, who may prove impossible to catch if allowed to dictate terms unopposed on the front end. Joel Rosario rides for Brad Cox.
5. MAXFIELD (9-5) exits arguably his best performance to date, a facile 3 1/4-length triumph in the Stephen Foster S. (G2) in which Jose Ortiz wrapped up on him by midstretch. The four-year-old son of Street Sense launched an eye-catching move past rivals on the far turn to record his seventh win from eight career outings last time, and one can argue that Maxfield benefited from his lone setback, a third in the Santa Anita H. (G1) in early March. The top-ranked Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) contender has been terrific winning the Alysheba (G2) and Foster since then, and Maxfield is tractable enough to sit close if necessary. He looks ready for a strong showing from just off the pace in the Whitney.