SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- Improbable won the $750,000 Whitney by two lengths at Saratoga on Saturday, making Bob Baffert the first trainer to notch back-to-back victories in the Grade 1 race for older horses since 1994-95.
Ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., Improbable ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.65. The 4-year-old colt paid $8.50, $4.50 and $2.70 at 3-1 odds. He earned an automatic berth to the Breeders' Cup Classic on Nov. 7 at Keeneland.
By My Standards returned $5.40 and $2.60. Even-money favorite Tom's d'Etat paid $2.10 to show.
Code of Honor finished fourth and Mr. Buff took fifth.
Baffert won last year's race with McKinzie. Trainer Scotty Schulhofer won the Whitney in 1994 with Colonial Affair and the following year with Unaccounted For.
After acting up in the starting gate, Improbable settled down and broke sharply. Tom's d'Etat stumbled leaving from the far outside post as Mr. Buff went to the front.
Improbable settled into second before taking command over Mr. Buff just past the three-quarter pole near the rail coming out of the final turn.
"He's always got a little blowup in him and then he settles down," said Elliot Walden, CEO of WinStar Farm, which co-owns Improbable. "He broke great, Irad had him in a super position and felt great all the way around there. Bob had him ready to go, as usual, when he comes East."
Improbable improved his career earnings to $1,529,520 with his third Grade 1 victory.