Some of the country's best sprinters square off on Saturday when the starting gate opens in the 2021 Vanderbilt Handicap at Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. The Saffie Joseph Jr.-trained Mischevious Alex is the 2-1 morning-line favorite in the Vanderbilt odds while the Kelly Breen-trained Firenze Fire is the 3-1 second choice. Post time is 5:03 p.m. ET. (Check out SportsLine's extensive horse racing coverage.)
Saratoga Springs-based racing insider and Beyer Speed Figure maker Bob Weir has studied the race and formulated trifecta and superfecta wagers in his analysis below. A two-time qualifier for the prestigious National Horseplayers Championship in Las Vegas, Weir has produced multiple five-figure days at the track. Earlier this year he hit the exacta in the Tampa Bay Derby for $1,414, and on July 18 he hit the late Pick 4 at Del Mar for $594.60. Those are just some of his scores in 2021.
Saturday's race features an elite collection of the nation's best sprinters. Mischevious Alex has seven wins in 13 career starts and earlier this year won the biggest race of his career, the Carter Handicap at Aqueduct. He is coming off a third-place finish in the Met Mile on Belmont Stakes day at Belmont Park.
His most accomplished challengers are two experienced runners: 6-year-old Firenze Fire and 8-year-old Whitmore. The former has 14 wins in 34 career starts and has earned more than $2.5 million in his career. Meanwhile Whitmore has 15 wins in 41 starts and has earned more than $4.4 million. Last year he was named the champion sprinter.
Weir has handicapped the Vanderbilt Handicap field, made his picks and constructed his bets.
One shocker: Weir's top pick is not Mischevious Alex, even though he is the 2-1 morning-line favorite. "The primary concern is that he's drawn inside, he may not have the quickness of several others in this race and he may need some racing luck to avoid getting boxed in," Weir tells SportsLine. Weir likes two horses better than Mischevious Alex.
Weir's top pick is a horse who "can't be ignored." He also is high on a double-digit long shot who "often gives a good effort" and could surprise. Weir is including these horses in his 2021 Vanderbilt Handicap bets, and so should you. You ABSOLUTELY need to see his picks before locking in any of your own!
Based in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., Weir has been handicapping and following horse racing since reading Andy Beyer's landmark handicapping book "Picking Winners" in the late 1980s. Weir is highly invested in the Beyer Speed Figure, a number assigned to every race run by a horse that measures how fast the horse ran. He uses the figure as the backbone of his handicapping. In fact, thanks to his proficiency with speed figures and top-tier handicapping, he landed one of just eight spots on Beyer's figure-making team in 2017, a position he holds to this day.
Weir's methodology has produced multiple five-figure days. In 2014, he hit a $60,000 Pick 6 at Del Mar. The following year, he nailed a $31,000 Pick 6 at Gulfstream Park. In 2016 and 2017, Weir qualified for the prestigious National Horseplayers Championship in Las Vegas!
Last year, his first for SportsLine, Weir was on fire. In June, Weir hit a $2 superfecta in the Ogden Phipps Stakes that paid a whopping $1,039. He crushed the exacta and trifecta in the Forego Stakes in August for $1,134.50. He hit the late Pick 4 at Belmont Park on June 18, June 19, June 25, July 2 and July 5, with the June 25 score returning a whopping $2,159.50.
This year, he has hit the exacta in the Sam F. Davis Stakes, Tampa Bay Derby and Peter Pan Stakes, the trifecta in the Risen Star Stakes and Blue Grass Stakes and the superfecta in the Belmont Stakes, with the Tampa Bay Derby score returning $1,414! Those are just some of his scores in 2021.
Who wins the 2021 Vanderbilt Handicap? What double-digit long shot is a must-back? And how has Weir constructed his wagers?... Join SportsLine right now to get the top 2021 Vanderbilt Handicap picks and bets, all from the racing insider who has been on fire!