Charge It Finishes Fourth In The Whitney Stakes

Charge It impressed many when he won the Grade 3 Dwyer Stakes by 23 lengths last summer and his supporters felt he was now ready to make the step up and get himself into the mix for divisional honors in the three-year-old categories.

Sadly, things did not pan out that way as a foot abscess forced him to miss out on the Travers Stakes, and on the back of that blow, his connections just shut him down for the remainder of the year, so he and his trainers could focus on his fitness.

With the three-year-old division in the rearview, Charge It won an allowance race at Gulfstream Park to kick off his time as a four-year-old on the circuit, and the belief remained that he could now make an impact in the older male dirt division – but again, sadly it has not happened yet. However, there was hope on the horizon this week, as after a solid victory in last month’s Grade 2 Suburban Stakes at Belmont Park, Charge It drew post 2 in a six-horse field and was made the 5-1 third choice in Saturday’s Grade 1 $1 million Whitney Stakes at Saratoga.

The 11/8 mile race saw Cody’s Wish installed as the 1-2 favourite by track linemaker David Aragona as per UK’s Horse Bet experts. Following Charge It’s allowance win going 11/16 miles at Gulfstream last February, he backed that up in distance and finished second to Endorsed in the Gulfstream Park Mile.

Todd Quast, general manager of Mandy Pope’s Whisper Hill Farm (the owners and breeders of Charge It) commented.

“He caught Endorsed on Endorsed’s best day. We’re trying to go fast and for whatever reason he was held and never got a chance to run. He fought him (jockey Luis Saez) the whole way. It didn’t work out. That got a lot of people off of him.”

Adding blinkers to the equipment for the Oaklawn Handicap did not have the desired effect, as he finished fifth behind Proxy, but there was improvement at the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap where Charge It finished fourth behind Cody”s Wish, but trainer Todd Pletcher felt it was a tactical decision that held him back that day as he debriefed with jockey John Velazquez.

“He had a chance to secure a little more forward position. He kind of opted to be patient.  Afterward, he thought if he had a do-over he would have went ahead and secured a spot closer. Still, that was a super-fast race and he was very competitive in it. He showed he belonged with the top horses in the division and hopefully, he’s improved a bit since then.”

And there was further improvement in the Suburban. Charge It sat off the front running horse, before taking over after a half mile and ultimately galloped to an easy win. Quast added.

“He came out of the race thriving. We’re hoping for a much better end of the year than we had the first part of the year for sure.”

The Whitney was a chance for Charge It to “re-establish who he is” but it was never going to be easy, particularly in light of the form Cody’s Wish has been in (won nine of the last ten starts). In front of a record crowd of patrons, Cody’s Wish stumbled through and could not mount a challenge to run away winner White Abarrio.

Given the journey, Charge It has been on, finishing fourth will be considered by many to be a valid marker for future races again now.


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