A pair of dirt sprints, the $300,000 Forego (G1) for older horses and $150,000 Amsterdam (G2) for 3-year-olds, are among the four stakes being offered on Saturday’s 11-race card at Saratoga.
Whitmore, the 2018 Forego winner, will compete for favoritism in the 7-furlong event this year following his rallying second in the July 25 A.G. Vanderbilt (G1) over the track. A multiple stakes winner at Oaklawn earlier this season, the 7-year-old gelding will seek his overall 11 stakes victory. Whitmore has earned more than $3.1 million, and Luis Saez will pick up the mount on the Ron Moquett-trained late runner.
Grade 1 scorer Firenze Fire, a juvenile stakes winner at Saratoga and second in last year’s Forego, will try to rebound from an unplaced effort in the Vanderbilt. A convincing winner of the True North (G2) at Belmont Park two back, the Kelly Breen-trained 5-year-old adds the services of Junior Alvarado. Mind Control, who captured the 2018 Hopeful (G1) and 2019 Allen Jerkens Memorial (G1) at the Spa, can’t be dismissed from win consideration. The 4-year-old colt exits a third in the Vanderbilt, and regular rider John Velazquez has the call for Greg Sacco.
Other contenders in the 11-horse field include Grade 3 winner Lexitonian, who closed with a rush to be a nose second in Aug. 1 Bing Crosby (G1) at Del Mar; juvenile Grade 1 hero Complexity, a sharp 2 1/4-length allowance winner at Belmont last time in his 4-year-old opener; Fortin Hill, who tries stakes company for Chad Brown off a convincing allowance tally; and last-out allowance winner and Grade 1 runner-up Everfast.
In the 6-furlong Amsterdam, Basin will make his first sprint start since posting a 6 1/2-length win in the Hopeful (G1) at Saratoga last year. Unplaced in the Blue Grass (G2) most recently, the Liam’s Map colt has been transferred to Todd Pletcher, and Jose Ortiz takes over the controls. Basin will break from the rail against five challengers.
Long Weekend, who defeated subsequent Grade 1 winner Echo Town in the Bachelor S. at Oaklawn two back, is eligible to move forward off a close third (elevated to second via disqualification) in the July 10 Gold Fever S. at Belmont. Luis Saez rides for Tom Amoss. Yaupon will make his stakes debut for Steve Asmussen with a 2-for-2 record, registering a 102 Brisnet Speed rating for his 3 3/4-length romp over entry-level allowance foes at Saratoga on July 18, and Joel Rosario will guide.