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Monday, July 30
Lido Palace beats 'Albert' in Whitney




SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- Albert the Great's shortcomings in Grade 1 races and at Saratoga continued Saturday as Lido Palace rallied past him in midstretch and went on to a two-length victory in the $750,000, Grade 1 Whitney Handicap.

Lido Palace
Lido Palace surged past favorite Albert the Great to win the Whitney.
Albert the Great, the 4-5 favorite, held second, a neck in front of Gander. Perfect Cat, Elite Mercedes, Unshaded, and Pleasant Breeze completed the order of finish.

The result was the reverse of the Grade 2 Suburban Handicap on July 1, when Albert the Great defeated Lido Palace by 2 1/4 lengths. But that was at Belmont Park, where Albert the Great is nearly unbeatable, winning six of seven starts.

Away from Belmont entering the Whitney, Albert the Great was 2 for 11 and winless in two starts at Saratoga. In Grade 1 races, Albert the Great is now 1 for 6.

In the Suburban - and the June 10 Brooklyn - Albert the Great was able to dictate the pace under Jorge Chavez. Saturday, Chavez found himself laying fourth entering the first turn as Elite Mercedes opened up a two-length lead while being chased by Gander and Pleasant Breeze.

Jerry Bailey kept Lido Palace in fifth position, just off of Albert the Great's flank. When Chavez moved Albert the Great entering the far turn, Bailey moved Lido Palace.

Albert the Great moved past Elite Mercedes turning for home and Bailey, who came wide into the stretch, set sail after him. Lido Palace collared Albert the Great inside the eighth pole and, despite pulling himself up, got to the wire first. He covered the nine furlongs in 1:47.94 and returned $7.90 as the second choice.

"What I didn't anticipate was my horse easing himself so much as he did when he made the lead," said Bailey, who won his fourth Whitney. "I hit him on both sides trying to refocus him; it didn't seem to work. I guess a horse running at him seemed to have done it. The wire came in time."

Trainer Nick Zito and Chavez both said the nine-pound weight concession to Lido Palace was the difference. By finishing second, Albert the Great won the inaugural NTRA Champions Series and earned a $160,000 bonus in addition to his $150,000 share of the Whitney purse.

"The horse ran gallant, he just had to spot this horse nine pounds," Zito said. "I thought he would get by Elite Mercedes sooner, but he didn't. Maybe if he could he would have been able to hold them off."

Bobby Frankel, who trains Lido Palace for Jerome and John Amerman, watched the race from California where he saddled Skimming in the San Diego Handicap. He took over the training of Lido Palace this spring after he ran third in the UAE Derby in Dubai.

Albert the Great and Lido Palace may meet again in the Woodward Stakes, a weight-for-age race, at Belmont on Sept. 8.

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