Friday, July 24, 2009
Whitney added to Challenge series
By David Grening
Daily Racing Form
The Grade 1, $750,000 Whitney Handicap at Saratoga has been added to the 2009 Breeders' Cup Challenge Win and You're In program, meaning the winner of the race receives an automatic berth into the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita on Nov. 7.
The Whitney will be run at Saratoga on Aug. 8 and is expected to feature defending winner Commentator, who did not run in the Classic last year. As of Friday, those being considered for the Whitney included Asiatic Boy, Dry Martini, Finallymadeit, Macho Again, Arson Squad, and possibly Tizway.
Neither the Whitney nor any race at Saratoga was included among the original lineup of Breeders' Cup Challenge races announced June 22. According to P.J. Campo, the New York Racing Association's director of racing, Breeders' Cup officials contacted him several weeks ago seeking to add a race for the classic division. The only other races that grant automatic berths to the Classic are the Washington Park Handicap, Goodwood, and Pacific Classic.
Campo said he ran it by senior management of NYRA, which thought it was a "great idea. There weren't any conflicts as far as sponsorship is concerned," Campo said.
A spokesman for the Breeders' Cup, Jim Gluckson, said that after the cancellation of this year's Massachusetts Handicap by Suffolk Downs, "there was no race in the Northeast included in the Classic division.
"We wanted to get a race qualifier from the Northeast section of the country and we worked together with the New York Racing Association because we very much wanted to have the Whitney in the series."