Allen Jerkens Memorial & Forego Stakes Betting Odds

The Travers undercard at Saratoga on Saturday is full of big names and they do not come much bigger than champion sprinter Elite Power, who bids to stretch his winning streak to nine in the G1 Forego Stakes against his old rival Gunite. Potential champion sprinters of the future line up for the G1 H. Allen Jerkens Memorial, in which the Bob Baffert pair Arabian Lion and Fort Bragg take on the unbeaten speedball New York Thunder.

Don’t miss the 2023 Forego Stakes & Allen Jerkens Memorial Recap here!

Breeders Cup Odds

Forego Stakes

G1, $500,000, 7f dirt, 4yo+, 3.07pm ET

Seconds out, round three. Two of the game’s heavyweights, bona fide big hitters, put their dukes up again in the Forego Stakes at Saratoga on Saturday, with the smooth, silky champ leading the rubber 2-0 over a hard-case challenger who is never, ever going to quit.

In the red corner, Elite Power (1-2). In the blue corner, Gunite (6-5). Tale of the tape: Elite Power has won eight straight since breaking his maiden, three of them at seven furlongs or further, two G1s including the 2022 Breeders’ Cup Sprint, is the reigning champion sprinter. Gunite has an eight-for-18 count, only off the board in two G1s, is a G1 winner over course and distance, four-for-five over seven furlongs.

When they last met, in the 2023 G1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt here over six furlongs, there was a knock-down, drag-out battle that brought the crowd to their feet. Gunite was three lengths up with an eighth to run, Elite Power came down upon him like righteous vengeance and beat him a head.

The time before, in the 2023 G3 Riyadh Dirt Sprint over six furlongs, Elite Power blew Gunite away by three and a quarter lengths, getting first run on his tenacious rival and making it count in impressive fashion.

In between, Gunite dominated second-rate opposition in a six-furlong stakes at Churchill Downs, while Elite Power beat better horses in the 2023 G2 True North at Belmont Park over six and a half furlongs.

Two fine horses, but past performances give Elite Power a clear edge. But . . . in Riyadh they raced at level weights, and in the Vanderbilt Elite Power spotted Gunite 2lb. Now? Gunite gets 6lb from the champ, and if they run the same race again that makes him the winner. Things are never that simple, but this is Gunite’s best chance of toppling Elite Power, seven furlongs, Saratoga, 6lb pull.

Can he? Yes. Will he? Seconds out . . . round three.

There are three other horses in the race, and they will have their own private contest for the cachet of hitting the board in a G1. Pipeline (12-1) has never won anything better than an allowance, but ran third in this race 12 months ago behind two superstars in Cody’s Wish and Jackie’s Warrior.

He has the call over Synthesis (20-1), who has also never won anything better than an allowance and was beaten more than 11 lengths into fifth in the Vanderbilt behind the you-know-who two. Elite Power’s barnmate High Oak (30-1) actually beat Gunite easily when they filled the exacta in the 2021 G2 Saratoga Special over six and a half furlongs, but that was a long time ago and he has not won since, showed a little last time but not much.

2023 Forego Stakes Betting Odds & Pick

HorseJockeyHorse Racing Odds by Jazzsports
High OakKatie Davis+3000
GuniteTyler Gaffalione+120
Elite PowerIrad Ortiz, Jr.-200
PipelineLuis Saez+1200
SynthesisManuel Franco+2000

Pay your money, take your choice. If the gnarly GUNITE is ever going to beat Elite Power it is now, with a pull at the weights over a distance he excels at.

H. Allen Jerkens Memorial Stakes

G1, $500,000, 7f dirt, 3yo, 4.19pm ET

The sophomore equivalent of the Forego is just as enthralling a prospect, with the H. Allen Jerkens Memorial breaking down into a four-horse war of last-time-out winners who could all challenge for major honours before the year is out.

Bob Baffert has two of the big contenders, with the resurgent Arabian Lion (2-1) top of the morning-line after making his Graded-stakes breakthrough in the seven-furlong 2023 G1 Woody Stephens at Belmont Park.

Arabian Lion had been all smoke but no fire at the beginning of the year, but has turned things around and was impressive at Belmont, surging past the hitherto unbeaten Drew’s Gold (12-1) and beating him by a length and three-quarters, appearing to relish the cutback after being campaigned over a mile and more.

Drew’s Gold has not done a lot for the form since then, but Arabian Lion is on the up-and-up in any case, as is his barnmate Fort Bragg (5-2), who faces a test of his speed now that he cuts back from a mile.

Fort Bragg was beaten a neck in the 2023 G2 Pat Day Mile at Churchill Downs and then made his stakes breakthrough when taking the 2023 G3 Dwyer at Belmont, nosing out subsequent Jim Dandy runner-up Saudi Crown. That is strong form but it remains to be seen whether he has the pace for sprinting.

We know that New York Thunder (5-2) has the pace, because he went through the first half-mile of the 2023 G2 Amsterdam here in a blistering 43.56s, and still had the energy to keep going and rout his rivals by seven and a half lengths, with Drew’s Gold plainly failing to cope back in third place.

That was a phenomenal performance from New York Thunder, who is four-for-four and was making his debut on the main track in the Amsterdam after wins on synthetic and turf. The extra half-furlong is plainly no concern and he could really be something special, although this will be a stern test up in grade again. He leads, though. Can they catch him?

This is something new for Verifying (4-1), runner-up in the 2023 G1 Blue Grass at Keeneland before running himself to a standstill on the lead in the 2023 G1 Kentucky Derby, finishing 16th. He finally made his stakes breakthrough over a mile-sixteenth in the 2023 G3 Indiana Derby at the ‘Horseshoe’, holding on grimly to score by a nose, but is not the most obvious candidate to appreciate what will be a high-intensity speed burn-up.

One In Vermillion (10-1) won a short-field stakes at Santa Anita over seven furlongs in May, but has never shown that he has the class to play in the big league.

2023 H. Allen Jerkens Memorial Stakes Betting Odds & Prediction

HorseJockeyHorse Racing Odds by Jazzsports
Drew’s GoldJose Antonio Gomez+1200
One in VermillionLuis Saez+1000
VerifyingFlavien Prat+400
Fort BraggJoel Rosario+250
New York ThunderTyler Gaffalione+250
Arabian LionJohn R. Velazquez+200

The unbeaten NEW YORK THUNDER is blessed with a huge amount of early speed and, despite the class hike, could easily prove impossible to catch.

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