Alfred G. Vanderbilt H. (G1) — Race 8 (4:50 p.m. ET)
No rival has been able to slow down reigning sprint champion Jackie’s Warrior this year, but we’ll see if weight will in Saturday’s $350,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt (G1) at Saratoga.
Following blowout wins in the Churchill Downs (G1) and True North (G2) in his last two starts, Jackie’s Warrior will lug a career-high 127 pounds in the six-furlong Vanderbilt, six to 11 pounds more than his five rivals.
“He’s 4-for-4 at Saratoga, all graded stakes,” said trainer Steve Asmussen, referring to Jackie’s Warrior’s prior wins in the Saratoga Special (G2), Hopeful (G1), Amsterdam (G2), and Allen Jerkens Memorial (G1). “He’s an excellent horse and in interviews about him, you want to say something different, but he has just been consistently brilliant.”
The competition, obviously, has form to find to keep up with the Eclipse Award winner. Ny Traffic, Grade 1-placed around two turns earlier in his career, has won his last four attempts at seven furlongs or less, including the Affirmed Success S. against New York-breds and the Chocolate Town S. at Penn National in his past two outings.
Willy Boi is 3-for-3 since joining the Jorge Delgado barn, including a one-length score in the Smile Sprint (G3) at Gulfstream last time, while Kneedeepinsnow finished third behind Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) winner Aloha West in the Kelly’s Landing S. at Churchill most recently.
The field is rounded out by Long Range Toddy and the allowance-class Doc Amster.