Saturday’s August 1st Grade I Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap has a unique connection to the mid-Atlantic region. Its namesake Alfred Vanderbilt was the owner of the 600 acre Sagamore farm based in Maryland for most of the 20th century. Mr. Vanderbilt has been credited for introducing the starting gate at Baltimore’s Pimlico Racecourse in the 1940s, so let’s get our Mid-Atlantic entries into the gate.
The Big Beast, bred in Maryland by Green Willow Farms and carrying 117 lbs, is trained by Anthony Dutrow and ridden by Saratoga’s leading rider John Velazquez. This four-year-old colt, owned by Alex and JoAnn Lieblong, is by Yes It’s True – V V S Flawless, by Deputy Minister. This horse had an impressive win in last year’s 7 furlong King’s Bishop at Saratoga and has morning line odds of 4/1.
Favorite Tale, bred by Paul Conaway in Pennsylvania and carrying 117 lbs, is trained by Guadalupe Preciado and ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr. He is a four-year-old gelding coming off a stellar victory in the Grade II Smile Sprint Stakes in Gulfstream Park. Favorite Tale is by Tale of the Cat – Tricky Elaine, by Grindstone and is owned by PJG Stable. He is at morning line odds of 5/1.
With any luck, these horses will be involved in a photo finish, which coincidentally was also a contribution of Alfred G. Vanderbilt. He was directly involved in introducing the photo camera at the wire.