The Spa Spot: Endorsement, Fort Larned work for Whitney
Whitney Handicap candidates Endorsement and Fort Larned had their final serious works Monday morning for the historic $750,000 Grade 1 race to be held Saturday afternoon.
Endorsement, trained by Eoin Harty, traveled an easy five furlongs in 1:04.52 after the renovation break on the main track. Meanwhile, Fort Larned had an eventful journey in a five-furlong breeze with stablemate Cape Glory. Fort Larned's time of 58.69 was the second-fastest of 42 works at the distance, while Cape Glory checked in at 1:00.75.
On June 23, Endorsement showed his readiness for the Whitney with a bullet five furlongs in :58.69. Monday's work was much less demanding.
“I didn’t want him to go nearly as fast as last week,” Harty said. “I’m not sure what the official time was, but he did it very easily and came back very well. I don’t think his fitness is in question.”
A seventh-place finish in the Suburban Handicap is the lone off-the-board result for the 5-year-old Distorted Humor horse this year. He is 2-1-1 from five starts, including a victory in the Grade 3 Texas Mile. Endorsement also was third behind Alternation in the Grade 3 Pimlico Special, in which he led until the final yards.
Harty said he anticipates the Casner Racing runner to be forwardly placed in the 1 1/8-mile Whitney.
“I don’t know what’s in there, but I envision myself being on the lead as long as possible,” he said. “Hopefully, that’s long enough.”
Fort Larned's final breeze included an encounter with another horse galloping in close proximity to the rail near the half-mile pole. Cape Glory and Fort Learned wound up on either side of the galloper, with Fort Larned going through along the inside and Cape Glory on the outside, said trainer Ian Wilkes.
“It probably made us work a little faster, having to run through the hole, but everything is fine,” Wilkes said. “He’s a fast horse.”
Fort Larned, an E Dubai colt owned by Janis Whitman, has earned identical triple-digit Beyer speed figures of 108 in three of his last four starts, including his three-length victory over Successful Dan in the Grade 3 Cornhusker Handicap at Prairie Meadows on June 30.
“I don’t have to do the running, so I’m not nervous, but it’s always exciting when you have a horse good enough to compete in a Grade 1 at Saratoga,” said Wilkes.