Whitney Invitational goes to Cross Traffic
Saratoga Springs, NY (Sports Network) - Lightly raced Cross Traffic set the pace and held off a challenge down the stretch to win Saturday's $750,000 Whitney Invitational Handicap at Saratoga Race Course.
Part of the Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" program, the victory in the 1 1/8-mile Whitney guarantees a place for Cross Traffic in this November's Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita.
Trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by John Velazquez, Cross Traffic took the lead in the eight-horse field shortly after the start and set the pace the entire distance. Defending winner and 6-5 favorite Fort Larned was racing just behind the leader with Mucho Macho Man also pressing the pace.
Around the final turn, Cross Traffic, Mucho Macho Man and Fort Larned were across the track. Entering the stretch, Cross Traffic moved to the lead as his challengers tired.
The 7-2 second choice staggered a bit down the stretch, but was able to post a three-quarter length win over the late running Successful Dan. Mucho Macho Man finished third followed by Ron the Greek, Fort Larned, Alpha, Csaba and Fast Falcon.
Cross Traffic covered the Whitney on a fast track in 1:47.89.
Cross Traffic, owned by GoldMark Farm, recorded his first stakes win in just his fifth career start. The victory was worth $450,000 to bring his lifetime earnings to $681,300 with three wins and two seconds.
Making his debut in January of this year, the 4-year-old colt won his first two races at Gulfstream Park and followed with second-place performances at Belmont Park in the Westchester Handicap and Met Mile.
Cross Traffic returned $9.10, $5.40 and $4.40. Successful Dan paid $5.90 and $4.90, and Mucho Macho Man paid $5.20 to show.
08/03 19:00:12 ET