Equibase Analysis: Olympiad Can Upset Life Is Good In Whitney - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report
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Equibase Analysis: Olympiad Can Upset Life Is Good In Whitney

Junior Alvarado guides Olympiad to victory in the Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs

The 2022 edition of the Grade 1, $1 million Whitney Stakes on Saturday is likely to be a race which will be talked about for quite some time no matter the outcome, given the depth of talent in this six-horse field.

The key pairing is Life is Good vs Olympiad, but the other four all have been competitive at the level and none would be a complete surprise if winning. Life is Good brings a seven-for-nine record into the race including last year's Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile, while Olympiad sports a seven-for-10 career record and is undefeated in five races around two turns including in the G2 Stephen Foster Stakes last month.

In spite of those two powerhouses, Hot Rod Charlie leads the field in career earnings at $5.2 million and just ran the best race of his career, although beaten a head for the win in the G3 Salvator Mile Stakes. Happy Saver is $12,000 shy of $1 million in earnings in spite of having finished second in four straight graded stakes including behind Olympiad in the G2 Alysheba Stakes in May. Americanrevolution won the G1 Cigar Mile Stakes last year and is set to improve in his third start after six months off, most recently finishing second behind Olympiad in the Stephen Foster. Zoomer rounds out the field and is no slouch as he is seeking his 12th career win, although he is winless in two previous stakes tries in his 37 race career.

Olympiad typifies what a top Thoroughbred can do as they mature, physically and mentally, over the course of their 4-year-old season. Since trying two turns for the first time this past January, he has reeled off five straight victories, four in graded stakes. In each of those races Olympiad has exuded a mental attitude to compliment his physical prowess, dominating in the stretch in each of those wins by two lengths or more. Most recently Olympiad won the Stephen Foster Stakes at the distance of the Whitney Stakes with a career-best 123 ™ Equibase® Speed Figure, which only Life Is Good appears capable of matching if he repeats his Pegasus World Cup Invitational effort from January. Any questions of Olympiad running the same, or better, in the Whitney as compared to the Foster appear to have been answered when he put in an exemplary four furlong workout at Saratoga in 47.8 seconds last week, which was the best of 51 at the distance on the day and sends a message he will take some beating in this race.

Life is Good may have an edge in one department over Olympiad in the Whitney which could help deliver him the victory: he is likely to be the controlling speed in the field. Not once in his nine race career has Life is Good been second after a quarter mile has been run, leading to easy wins in seven of those races. Most have been around one turn but he proved he can run further twice, most recently when winning the Pegasus World Cup Invitational in January at the distance of the Whitney, defeating last year's Breeders' Cup Classic winner Knicks Go and earning a career-best 123 ™ figure while coasting to a 3 1/4-length win. After a poor fourth-place finish after leading early in the Dubai World Cup at the 1 1/4-mile distance he'd never run before, Life is Good returned following three months off to easily win the John A. Nerud Stakes last month with a 115 figure effort he is bound to improve upon in his second start off the layoff.

As to the others, in terms of class and how fast they've run, Hot Rod Charlie continues to display a strong competitive spirit but also has been unable to really break through at this level, having finished fourth, second and second in his last three North American graded stakes, with the best of those efforts yielding a 118 figure when beaten a head in the Salvator Mile Stakes in June. Happy Saver continues to play groomsman with four straight runner-up efforts in graded stakes, including behind Olympiad in the Alysheba Stakes in May. Happy Saver ran his best race in the past year when second in the Clark Stakes last fall with a 112 figure. Americanrevolution was no match for Olympiad when two lengths behind at the end in the Stephen Foster Stakes, an effort which yielded a career-best 120 figure, and I don't foresee a reversal of that order in the Whitney. Zoomer has won three of six races this year, with two of those efforts yielding 109 figures which even if repeated are unlikely to be competitive in this race with the top contenders.

Win Contenders, in preference order:
Olympiad
Life is Good

Whitney Stakes – Grade 1
Race 10 at Saratoga
Saturday, August 6 – Post Time 5:43 PM E.T.
One Mile and One Eighth
Four Year Olds and Upward
Purse: $1 Million

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