• The week’s top Beyer speed figure in North America
Saratoga (August 1): Whitney Stakes G1 $750,000 1m1f, dirt, 4yo+
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Jockey: Irad Ortiz
Owner: WInStar Farm, China Horse Club & Starlight Racing
Pedigree: 4yo ch c City Zip – Rare Event (A.P. Indy)
It has been a while coming but Improbable finally seems to be living up to the sky-high reputation that meant he started favourite for both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes last year as a three-year-old.
In the end, his sole victory last term came in Listed company, which could be regarded only as a serious disappointment after his unbeaten juvenile campaign.
However, the son of City Zip completed back-to-back G1 successes with an impressive display to beat By My Standards by two lengths in the Whitney – and this despite yet again showing his immaturity by being fractious at the gate.
Improbable’s Beyer speed figure of 106 was a spot better than the 105 he received for his previous victory in the Santa Anita Handicap and he must now be considered a major player with the Breeders’ Cup Classic in mind. That said, his Whitney cause was aided to some degree when favourite Tom’s D’Etat stumbled on exiting the gate.
On a good weekend for Baffert – frankly, he needs it after recent travails – there was also a noteworthy Beyer from rejuvenated three-year-old Thousand Words, who hit 104 as he downed Santa Anita Derby winner Honor A.P. in the Shared Belief Stakes at Del Mar. (This is the Listed race Improbable won in 2019.)
No active three-year-old colt has a higher figure to their name this year, though both the filly Gamine and sidelined Charlatan have done better. Both of them are also trained by Baffert.
Back at Saratoga on Saturday, Chad Brown debutant Reinvestment Risk recorded the best two-year-old Beyer of 2020 with a 90 for his 7¾-length debut romp in the 6f opener.
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