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

Bob Baffert gets his first-ever Whitney Stakes win with morning line favorite McKinzie, who is named in honor of the late Brad McKinzie.

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.

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.