McKinzie gives Baffert first win in $1M Whitney at Saratoga

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — McKinzie won the $1 million Whitney by 1 3/4 lengths at Saratoga on Saturday, giving Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert his first victory in the Grade 1 race.

It was Baffert’s second starter in the race and first since 2004. McKinzie earned an automatic berth to the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic in November at Santa Anita, where the colt is based.

Ridden by Hall of Famer Mike Smith, McKinzie ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:47.10 on Saturday. The 4-5 favorite paid $3.70 to win.

Yoshida was second. Vino Rosso was another 4 3/4 lengths back in third.

McKinzie has seven wins in 12 career starts and earnings of $2,238,560.

The Whitney was run on Marylou Whitney Day, honoring the late breeder, owner and philanthropist nicknamed “Queen of Saratoga.” She died July 19 at age 93.

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The Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series continues on NBC Sports with the Fourstardave Handicap from Saratoga on August 10. Coverage begins at 5 p.m. on NBC.