Saratoga Derby Odds, Field & Predictions

Confidence is high behind the local talent in the G1 Saratoga Derby, the supporting feature on Whitney day at the Spa on Saturday, with G1 Belmont Derby 1-3-4 Far Bridge, Mondego and Webslinger a very strong and solid unit against the leading European contender Lion Of War.

Breeders Cup Odds

Saratoga Derby

G1, $600,000, 1m 3/16 turf, 3yo, 5.01pm ET

The highlight of the Whitney undercard at Saratoga on Saturday is the valuable Saratoga Derby, won for the last two years by European raiders, but this time a strong local defence will be expecting to keep the prize at home.

This is the second leg of the Turf Trinity series and the opening contest, the 2023 G1 Belmont Derby over ten furlongs last month, was won in impressive style by the very progressive Far Bridge (2-1), who has quickly risen to the top of the sophomore turf route division.

He got a dream run up the fence and finished off his race strongly to win by a length, moving up for stretching out, with stakes debutant and long-time leader Mondego (5-1), who had set only pedestrian fractions out front, hanging around for the show spot a nose further back. Webslinger (4-1) rallied from last place for fourth, beaten an extra half-length, and may well have done better with a more imaginative ride.

It was a turnaround in form from the 2023 G2 American Turf over a mile-sixteenth at Churchill Downs, when Webslinger got first run and pipped Far Bridge by a nose, but that was only Far Bridge’s third start – Webslinger’s eighth – and the extra yardage and improvement for experience have brought Far Bridge right to the fore.

Mondego is entitled to move up, but if he is going to be a pace angle he needs to produce more pace, as otherwise he will always just be an easy target.

Chad Brown sends the two-for-two Program Trading (7-2) straight into the big league on the back of victory in a mile-sixteenth allowance at Belmont Park, when he was on the pace throughout and drew off in the closing stages. It is the sort of move Brown has success with, but this is still a tough test for the inexperienced colt – the same applies, only more so, for ten-furlong Belmont maiden winner Truly Quality (12-1).

The overseas challenge is led by Lion Of War (8-1), who has never won a stakes but will have no stamina concerns. He shaped well when runner-up in a good handicap over ten furlongs at Royal Ascot last time, but the winner was comfortably beaten in a G3 next time and he will need a big career-best.

Irish raider The Franchise (30-1) finally broke his maiden in a minor nine-furlong handicap at The Curragh last time and looks out of place. His trainer won this with State Of Rest in 2021 but that horse had already accomplished much more. Compatriot Aspen Grove (12-1) is cross-entered in the Saratoga Oaks on Friday and would have a better chance against her own sex.

Saratoga Derby Odds

The Belmont Derby is the key to this and the winner FAR BRIDGE, who likely has improvement in store, has excellent credentials to come out on top again.

HorseJockeyHorse Racing Odds by Jazzsports
Mondego (GB)Joel Rosario+500
Program Trading (GB)Flavien Prat+350
Aspen Grove (IRE)John R. Velazquez+1200
The Franchise (IRE)Luis Saez+3000
Far BridgeJose L. Ortiz+200
WebslingerJavier Castellano+400
Battle of NormandyTyler Gaffalione+2000
Lion of War (GB)Oisin Murphy+800
Truly QualityIrad Ortiz, Jr.+1200

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