Trainer Todd Pletcher is looking to claim his first win in the $150,000 Vandal Stakes at Woodbine Saturday when he sends the 9-5 morning line favorite Sensational Slam to the starting gate.
The Grand Slam colt won his debut race on July 3 in the 5 ½ - furlong Clarendon Stakes also at Woodbine. Sensational Slam earned a 93 Brisnet Speed Figure for that effort which is the highest of all the other eight horses entered in the Vandal. If Sensational Slam repeats that performance, he will be tough to beat.
Sensational Slam is a descendent of the Mr. Prospector sire line and since 1990 there have been two horses from that sire line to win the Vandal Stakes: Twisted Wit (2003) and Heavenly Valley (1995).
Grand Slam, the sire of Sensational Slam, has five winners in 19 starters for 26 percent and is ranked eighth on the 2010 Juvenile Sire List.
Invitation Only (6-1) would give trainer David Cotey his second Vandal Stakes win. Cotey won the Vandal in 2004 with Moonshine Justice. Invitational Only is still a maiden but he was closing fast in his only start and narrowly lost by three-quarters of a length to Quintana (4-1) who is also entered in the Vandal.
Invitation Only is a descendent of the Northern Dancer sire line and since 1990 there have been six horses from that sire line that have won the Vandal: Leonnatus Anteas (2006), Canadian Triple Crown winner Wando (2002), Rare Friends (2001) Swampster (1999), Nite Dreamer (1997) and Dancing Deputy (1992),
Invitation Only also has a good female line. His dam, Star Guest, is the second dam of Woodbine Oaks winner and Queen’s Plate third-place finisher Roan Inish.
Whippit is also a maiden stepping up in to stakes competition but he looks interesting at 12-1 morning line odds. In his maiden debut, the Champali colt closed a lot of ground in the stretch to get up for third-place.
Whippit adds blinkers for trainer Audre Cappuccitti and if he can be closer to the pace, with a little racing luck, he may be able to be a factor in the Vandal Stakes.
Whippit is a descendent of the Bold Ruler sire line and five horses from that line have won the Vandal since 1990: Win And Reign (2008), Stuck In Traffic (2007), Catahoula Parish (1998), Welbred Fred (1993) and Marious (1991).
Lassair, the sole filly in the field and a full sister to Roan Inish, has very good breeding and at 15-1 morning line odds, she looks like another interesting long shot. However, in her only start, Lassair finished well back in the 12-horse field of the Shadywell Stakes – beaten by 21 lengths.
A recent bullet work indicates that Lassair could be improving and if she looks good in the post parade, she may warrant a small wager. Lassair is a descendent of the Mr. Prospector sire line and her sire, Elusive Quality, is the sire of the 2004 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Smarty Jones.