Lets Celebrate Does It Again, This Time in The Whitney

The Whitney (Grade 1) (BC)- $1,000.000 Purse
SAR- For Four Year Olds and Upward
One Mile and One Eighth on the Dirt
August 5, 2023

When the year began, Lets Celebrate was running in a $12.500 claimer at TAM. Now, he is the favorite to win the BC Classic after picking up his second straight victory in an automatic qualifier for that race. Last month, he was down at CD and won the Grade 1 Foster, and now he did it again, coming from off the pace as he so likes to do, to win the Grade 1 Whitney. He really is quite a story and making him all the more impressive is that he wins these races with a style that many say you cannot win with in our virtual word. Lets Celebrate was the post time favorite for the race, so certainly many people believed that he could indeed get it done again. Congratulations to Riggins Racing on his handling of this horse, even with having his entire four-year-old season off! For Riggins, it is his first win in the Whitney, and that is also true for jockey P Husbands. The time of the win was 1:47.44, the third fastest edition of the race overall, and quickest since 2012. Let’s take a look at it!

(1/2 Mile- :46.52)- From the outside, East Of Creep breaks sharply out of the gate for Fractious and is able to move over close to the rail before they enter the clubhouse turn. He has company at the front, as Arindel’s Ey Mon was also a quick starter, and the two of them go back and forth swapping the lead around the first turn and into the backstretch. After half a mile,they’re neck and neck. Another outside starter, Spankys Barn’s Puppet Master was also quick out of the gate and assumes a stalking position right behind the top two. Behind him, and about two to three lengths from the lead, we have a group of four, with Gdp Inc- trained Crack Dab looking to finally get it done in the Whitney. Berlin is right next to him for The Sidley Stud, then it’s The Martian (Mo Mentum Farm) on the rail, and Home Spirit (Night Rider Stables) running four wide. Hard To Forgive (D J C Racing Stables) is by himself right behind them, then it’s a length to Z Mission (Luz International) and another to G O O B A (Fractious). Individuation (Mb Stables) is next in line, then it’s a length to Cherokee Thriller (Axeman). Running in the 13th position, right where he wants to be, is our eventual winner for Riggins Racing, Lets Celebrate. He is officially scored ten lengths off the lead, which is right where he was at this stage of the race in the Foster. He’s not completely at the rear of the field, though, as Eight West Party (TwinTowersRacing) is behind him.

(3/4 Mile- 1:10.56)- Completing the backstretch portion of the race, and early in the turn, East Of Creep continues to be the leader and is prevailing in his battle with Ey Mon as that one is now a full length behind. Puppet Master is still third but has not challenged the top two in any manner, and now finds the four that had behind him quickly closing the gap that had been there previously. Crack Dab has the best position on the track to make a move to the front, and the veteran horse looks to make that move at this point, pushing about a length in front of the three that he had been running with. For now, The Martian, Berlin, and Home Spirit are content to maintain their positions on the track. Hard To Forgive, Z Mission, and G O O B A have also not pushed to the front. At the back, Individuation has put a little bit of a gap on the remainder of the field. Lets Celebrate is still at the back, running with Cherokee Thriller, and waiting for his time to strike. Eight West Party is further back, and whatever the plan is there, don’t think it’s a good idea to be behind Lets Celebrate just prior to the stretch push.

(Top of Stretch, 1.7F To Go)- Normally, we would continue to talk about what was going on at the front of the field first, but the story of this point of the race is much deeper in the field. About midway through the turn, Lets Celebrate simply explodes with run. He is fortunate that there is plenty of open space in front of him, and he takes full advantage of it. He powers by Cherokee Thriller, and in almost in a blink of an eye, he has the congested middle of the pack right in front of him. In terms of his running position, he is still twelfth, but he has so quickly cut what was once a ten-length deficit. At the front, East Of Creep is still at the front, but Fractious certainly was aware of what was happening further back. Crack Dab did pass Puppet Master for second and would seem to be in a good spot if not for our deep closer. Ey Mon was slipping, and The Martian, Home Spirit, Berlin, and Hard To Forgive were only remaining steady. G O O B A was getting a little closer, and Individuation was another looking to make a push from behind.

(Finish- 1:47.44)- Lets Celebrate is running so much faster than the rest of the field on exit of the turn, that the only possible option for P Husbands at this point is to swing him to the outside and run about seven wide. With a furlong to go, he was still just beginning to catch up with the middle of the field, so maybe for a moment we could think that Crack Dab at a shot at this, as that one was methodically catching and passing East Of Creep. But clearly, most of the horses in the field were running in slow motion for our race winner, as with half a furlong to go, Lets Celebrate was up to third and within a length of second. Crack Dab is a gritty horse, and was not going to make this easy, as after all he had been to the Whitney several times before and could see himself closing in on a win. However, that would not be enough, as Lets Celebrate was absolutely tremendous in the stretch, not breaking stride, and getting up in time to pick up the big Whitney win! Crack Dab will settle for second, and it was a length to a third-place dead heat (one of three dead heats) between G O O B A and Individuation. The Martian and Home Spirit were even for fifth, and then it was our pacesetter, East Of Creep. Rounding it out, it’s Eight West Party, Hard To Forgive, Puppet Master, Berlin, Z Mission, Ey Mon, and Cherokee Thriller.

About The Winner- Lets Celebrate, trained by Riggins Racing and ridden to victory by P Husbands, is a five-year-old gelding by Celebrate and is out of the late Gone In 60 Seconds. He was bred in California as a second quarter two-year-old by Riggins Racing, the only trainer for which he has ever known. Congratulations to the connections! The win is his sixth in 16 starts, his fourth stake win and third graded win. His career earnings are now $1,527.620.

##   Horse Name Owner Name Jockey Odds   Fin Time SRF 
  Lets Celebrate Riggins Racing Husbands P 4.10   1nk 1:47.44 — 
  Crack Dab Gdp Inc Centeno D E 17.35   21 1:47.49 — 
  G O O B A Fractious Geroux F 274.65   3hd 1:47.83 — 
  Individuation Mb Stables Saez L 4.25   3hd 1:47.83 — 
  The Martian Mo Mentum Farm Franco M 10.45   5hd 1:47.86 — 
  Home Spirit Night Rider Stables Zayas E J 6.50   5hd 1:47.86 — 
  East Of Creep Fractious Davis D 26.90   7nk 1:47.89 — 
  Eight West Party TwinTowersRacing Hernandez R M 16.70   8hd 1:47.94 — 
  Hard To Forgive D J C Racing Stables Silvera Ru 10.35   9no 1:47.98 — 
  Puppet Master Spankys Barn Smith M E 20.05   10nk 1:48.00 — 
  Berlin The Sidley Stud Beschizza A 10.65   112 1:48.06 — 
  Z Mission Luz International Wilson E J 13.65   112 1:48.06 — 
  Ey Mon Arindel Velazquez J R 7.25   133/4 1:48.55 — 
  Cherokee Thriller Axeman Pennington F 85.15   14 1:48.74 — 

Track: Fast

Time: :462  1:102  1:351  1:472

$2 Mutuel Prices:

6 – Lets Celebrate 10.20 5.50 3.60
2 – Crack Dab   14.80 8.40
4 – G O O B A     111.00
11 – Individuation     3.10

$1 Exacta: 6 – 2 Paid 99.80

$1 Trifecta: 6 – 2 – 4 Paid 756.50, 6 – 2 – 11 Paid 378.70

Scratched: None

— NS

Categories: Grade I, STAKES ARTICLES

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