Whitney Handicap Betting Guide

The Whitney Handicap is one of the biggest race days of the year at Saratoga. The 2021 renewal of the Grade 1 will take place on August 7th. You will be able to find out more about the Whitney Handicap, and the betting markets you can bet on for one of the biggest races of the year.

Whitney Handicap Event Details

Only the Kentucky Derby is rated higher than the Whitney Handicap by the International Federation of Horse Racing Authorities outside of the Breeders’ Cup. The Grade 1 takes place annually at Saratoga Race Course, as horses aged three and older compete over 1 1/8 miles. The field race on dirt, and there is a purse of $1.2 million on offer.

Whitney Handicap Preview

The Whitney Handicap has been won by some of the best horses in training in the United States. However, the official declarations for the huge race will not be made until the start of August. Below, you will find some of the most recent winners of the Grade 1:


  • Improbable (2020)

  • McKinzie (2019)

  • Diversify (2018)

  • Gun Runner (2017)

  • Frosted (2016)

  • Honor Code (2015)


One of the most important factors that gamblers will be looking for before making a bet on the Whitney Handicap are the trends that have contributed to finding the winners in the past. Horses trained by Bob Baffert will have an excellent chance in the Grade 1 this year, as the American has trained the winners on the last two renewals. His first win came in 2019 with McKinzie, before he added a second success last year, as Improbable won the Whitney Handicap.


The age of the horse could also be an important factor, as eight of the previous nine winners have been aged four. The only exception to this trend was Diversify in 2018, as he was aged five when he won the Whitney Handicap. Meanwhile, the oldest horse to have won the Grade 1 since 2000 was Commentator in 2008, as he won for trained Nick Zito aged seven.


Another important trend that has been followed by the majority of previous winners of the Whitney Handicap are graded victories in the season that they win the Grade 1. All three previous winners of the race have won a graded race before taking Whitney Handicap success.


The most recent winner, Improbable, won the Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup stakes in June before winning the Whitney Handicap. Meanwhile, McKinzie claimed success in the Grade 2 Alysheba Stakes at Churchill Downs in May before the featured Grade 1 at Saratoga. McKinzie also finished second in the competitive Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap before the Whitney Handicap. Diversify won both the Grade 2 Suburban Stakes and Commentator Stakes in the same calendar year before success at Saratoga.

Whitney Handicap History

The Whitney Handicap has been a huge race in the United States since being formed in 1928. It hasn’t always been run over the distance that it is today, as it was run over 1 ¼ miles between 1928 and 1955. While Saratoga is the proud host of the Whitney Handicap nowadays, it has been staged at Belmont Park on numerous occasions in the past. It was staged at Belmont between 1943 and 1945 due to the Second World War, while it was also at the same track in 1961.


The race was only open to horses that were aged four and older between 1957 and 1969, before it was reduced to allow three-year-olds to enter. Horses competing in the Grade 1 can also earn entry to the Breeders’ Cup Classic by winning the Whitney Handicap. The ‘Win and You’re In’ format was introduced in 2009.


Kelso and Discovery are the two most successful horses in this race, as they both won on three occasions during their esteemed career. However, some of the most famous horses in the history of racing have won the Whitney Handicap. Famous previous winners include Devil Diver, War Admiral, and Key to the Mint. Fillies have won this race on six occasions, while Secretariat was one of the most famous horses not to have won this race, as he finished second in 1973.

Whitney Handicap Betting Information

Due to the Whitney Handicap being one of the most illustrious races on the American calendar, there are a number of betting opportunities. You can find out more about the betting markets that are available to gamblers for the featured Grade 1 at Saratoga below.


  • Win: Placing a bet on the horse that will win the Whitney Handicap is the most prominent market available.

  • Place: There are often a number of quality horses with a chance of winning the Whitey Handicap. The odds could offer value for a selection to finish in a place position.

  • Exacta: The Exacta market is the most difficult for gamblers. Bets on this market will see gamblers wagering on the runners that will finish in the first two places in the correct order.


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