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Aug 03, 2012

Nine to do battle in Whitney Handicap


Saratoga Springs, NY (Sports Network) - Nine of the finest older thoroughbreds in training will face each other Saturday in the $750,000 Whitney Invitational Handicap at Saratoga Race Course. The 1 1/8 mile stakes is a "Win and You're In" race for this November's Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita.

Breaking from post three will be Ron the Greek who has been made the 3-1 morning line favorite and will be ridden by Jose Lezcano. Trained by Bill Mott, the five-year-old is owned by Brous Stable.

Ron the Greek won the Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs in his last start on June 16. Earlier this year, he was second in the Sunshine Millions Classic before winning the Santa Anita Handicap and finishing second again in the Oaklawn Handicap.

A veteran of 19 starts, the five-year-old has earned $1,112,597 with eight wins.

Mott, newly turned 59-years-old, also entered last year's Whitney runner- up Flat Out in the event. The six-year-old is the 4-1 co-third pick in the field along with Hymn Book and will be ridden by Rosie Napravnik from post seven.

Flat Out, owned by Preston Stables, is coming off a second-place finish to Whitney starter Rule in the Monmouth Cup on July 7. He will be trying to stop a five race losing streak since last visiting the winner's circle in last October's Jockey Club Gold Cup.

The six-year-old has won five of 17 career starts for $1,367,383.

Trainer Shug McGaughey's Hymn Book will be reunited with jockey John Velazquez for the Whitney. The pair will break from post eight, to the immediate outside of Flat Out. Velazquez was unable to ride after suffering a broken collarbone at Churchill Downs on June 16.

Hymn Book's only win this year came in the Donn Handicap at Gulfstream Park back in February. He was second in the Suburban Handicap on July 7 to Mucho Macho Man at Belmont Park and finished fourth in the Oaklawn Handicap and fifth in the Pimlico Special, both behind Alternation.

Owned by Stuart Janney III, the six-year-old gelding has seven wins in 17 lifetime starts for $700,187.

Here is the field for the Whitney in post position order: Rule, Joe Bravo, 5-1; Hunters Bay, Emma-Jayne Wilson, 20-1; Caixa Eletronica, Javier Castellano, 15-1; Endorsement, Joel Rosario, 20-1; Trickmeister, Ramon Dominguez, 15-1; Ron the Greek, Jose Lezcano, 3-1; Flat Out, Rosie Napravnik, 4-1; Hymn Book, John Velazquez, 4-1 and Fort Larned, Brian Hernandez Jr., 7-2.

Approximate post-time for the Whitney will be 5:45 p.m. (ET).

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