A “Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In” race, the Whitney drew a field of nine. Florida-bred Ron the Greek, owned by Brous Stable and trained by Bill Mott, has been installed as the 3-1 favorite.
From the rail out, the field consists: 1) Rule (5-1); 2) Hunters Bay (20-1); 3) Caixa Eletronica (15-1); 4) Endorsement (20-1); 5) Trickmeister (15-1); 6) Ron the Greek (3-1); 7) Flat Out (4-1); 8) Hymn Book (4-1); 9) and Fort Larned (7-2).
Jose Lezcano will handle riding chores aboard Ron the Greek. Breaking next to the morning line favorite will be fellow Florida-bred Flat Out. The Preston Stables colorbearer, also trained by Mott, will be ridden by Rosie Napravnik.
“I don’t feel [posts 6 and 7] are a disadvantage at all,” said Mott. “I don’t see any reason for excuses coming from those posts. I think [Ron the Greek is] a real late-developing horse. He’s a huge, gorgeous horse, actually, but a horse you could tell probably wasn’t going to get good until later in his career. I think it’s just a timing issue, as most things are in this business. He’s starting to come around at the right time and just landed in our hands at the right time.”
“I thought [the Monmouth Cup] was a perfect race for [Flat Out],” Mott added. “He probably didn’t get to run full out the whole way. He was kind of stuffed early in the race and got out late. He was closing on the winner. It was a useful race. I think it was the type of race you’d like going into a major race like the Whitney. It was enough, but it wasn’t too much. I think sometimes we panic a little bit if a horse runs clearing the field and worry about him running a little too fast, but I think this was probably just right.”
Jockey Joe Bravo has the mount on Rule. Owned by WinStar Farm,Rule is conditioned by Todd Pletcher, who also sends out Caixa Eletronica.
“The post positions are fine,” said Pletcher. “We’ll be able to save ground around the first turn. There appears to be plenty of pace in there so hopefully we’ll be able to save ground and work our way into a good position.”
“I think the division is still very wide open,” he added. “You have a couple of major players on the East coast who are not in here and will probably show up in the Woodward. It’s a division that’s waiting for someone to step up and take control of on the dirt. Maybe Game on Dude has taken control on the West coast, but it’s kind of wide-open here, waiting for someone to reel off a couple in a row.”
Stuart Janney’s Hymn Book and Janis Witham’s Fort Larned round out the main contenders.
Lawyer Ron owns the stakes record for the 1 1/8-mile fixture. He covered the distance in 1:46.64 in 2007. Tizway won the race last year.