SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – Three Chimneys Farm and Phoenix Thoroughbred’s Volatile charges his way up the ranks to face elite sprinters in Saturday’s $250,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap (G1) at Saratoga.
The Vanderbilt is a 6-furlong sprint for horses 3 and up that attracted a field of five. This year’s edition is the penultimate event on an 11-race card that also includes the Ballston Spa Stakes (G2).
Here is a look at the full field for the Vanderbilt:
1. Lexitonian 20/1 – His 2020 debut could not have gone much worse, as he finished 10th in April’s Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3). His next start went much better – he defeated optional claimers at Churchill Downs – but he still needs to improve from a speed figure standpoint if he hopes to turn the tables on the rival to his immediate outside.
2. Whitmore 2/1 – One of the most talented and consistent sprinters of the past several years, he won his lone local appearance in the 2018 Forego Stakes (G1). He rides a 2-race win streak that includes the Hot Springs Stakes and the Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) and should be expected to show up with his regular big effort.
3. Firenze Fire 4/1 – He was a distant fourth in the Carter Handicap (G1) while making his first start without the Jason Servis super-juice in his system, but new trainer Kelly Breen’s faith in the 5-year-old was rewarded when he won the True North Stakes (G2) last time out. Firenze Fire also won the local Sanford Stakes (G3) in his second career start and has a 5-1-1-1 overall record at The Spa.
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4. Volatile 4/5 – The streaking Steve Asmussen trainee has won 3 straight dating back to last November and made a major splash last time out in the Aristides Stakes, coming within 0.02 seconds of tying the track record. He ran on the wrong lead until inside the 1/16 pole, an error that he cannot afford to make against this tough group, but if anyone can fix that, Asmussen can.
5. Mind Control 6/1 – He won the H. Allen Jerkens Stakes (G1) over this course last August to begin a 3-race win streak at the graded stakes level. He was most recently a well-beaten sixth in the Carter Handicap (G1), but he reportedly had trouble handling that sloppy Belmont Park surface, so he should improve greatly if he catches a dry track Saturday.