NBC to Air SUMMER AT SARATOGA: BREEDERS' CUP CHALLENGE, 8/2
Dogwood Stables' sensational 4-year-old Palace Malice headlines a star-studded field of nine horses bidding for an automatic berth into the Breeders' Cup Classic in the $1.5 million Whitney Invitational from historic Saratoga Race Track in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., this Saturday for the live NBC broadcast of the "Summer at Saratoga: Breeders' Cup Challenge Series" program that will air at 5 p.m. ET.
The Whitney broadcast is the fifth of 11 programs in The Challenge Series leading to the Breeders' Cup World Championships on NBC and NBCSN, October 31-November 1 from Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif. Saturday's show will be hosted by Tom Hammond, who will be joined by analysts Randy Moss and Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey, and reporters Donna Brothers and Eddie Olczyk.
Saturday's show will also include the $500,000 Longines Test Stakes for fillies and mares, to be run at 7/8th of mile. Trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by John Velazquez, Palace Malice, the even-money favorite for the 1 1/8-mile Whitney, seeks to improve his 2014 record to 5-for-5 with a win on Saturday. Palace Malice, last year's Belmont Stakes winner, is a son of 2007 Breeders' Cup Classic winner Curlin, and he has risen to the top of the Classic Division ranks this year with a quartet of graded stakes victories. He kicked off his year winning the Gulfstream Park Handicap in March, won the New Orleans Handicap at the Fair Grounds, at Belmont Park he scored a win in the Westchester Handicap in May and then the Metropolitan Handicap on June 7, where he earned an automatic berth into the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile.
Stiff opposition could come from Willis Horton's 4-1 second choice Will Take Charge, the reigning 3-year-old champion who was second, beaten by just a nose in last year's Classic for trainer D. Wayne Lukas. The 4-year-old won last year's Travers Stakes at Saratoga, defeating Palace Malice. He has struggled to find his form this year, though, while going 1-for-5, winning the Oaklawn Handicap to go along with three second-place finishes.