Reigning champion sprinter Whitmore will try to end a nine-month winless drought when he leaves the starting gate in the 2021 Vanderbilt Handicap on Saturday at Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. A fan favorite at 8-years-old, Whitmore is 0-for-3 so far in 2021 and has not won since capturing the Breeders' Cup Sprint in November. He is coming off a third place finish in the Churchill Downs Sprint on the Kentucky Derby undercard. Trained by Ron Moquett, Whitmore is going off at 4-1 in the 2021 Vanderbilt Handicap odds.
The Saffie Joseph Jr.-trained Mischevious Alex is the 2-1 morning-line favorite in the nine-horse 2021 Vanderbilt Handicap field, while the Kelly Breen-trained Firenze Fire is getting 3-1 odds. Post time for the $350,000 race is 5:03 p.m. ET. With a well-accomplished field set to enter the starting gate on Saturday, you'll want to see what racing insider Bob Weir has to say before making any 2021 Vanderbilt Handicap picks.
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.
Now, Weir has handicapped the 2021 Vanderbilt Handicap horses, made his picks and constructed his bets. You can only see them here.
Top 2021 Vanderbilt Handicap predictions
One shocker: After studying every horse in the race and breaking down all of the speed figures, Weir is not making Mischevious Alex his top pick, even though he is the 2-1 morning-line favorite. A Grade 1 winner, this 4-year-old bay colt has emerged as one of the top sprinters in the country this year. He has three wins in four starts in 2021, including a victory in the Carter Handicap.
But he has run the six-furlong distance of the Vanderbilt just twice in 13 career starts, which worries Weir. "He's still the horse with the most upside, but the race selections for him by the connections to date make me wonder if six furlongs really is his best distance," Weir tells SportsLine. Weir likes two horses better than Mischevious Alex.
How to make 2021 Vanderbilt Handicap, bets
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. He's sharing which horses to back only at SportsLine.
So who wins the Vanderbilt Handicap 2021? And which horse is a must-back? Check out the latest Vanderbilt Handicap odds 2021 below, then visit SportsLine to see Weir's picks for Saturday's Vanderbilt Handicap 2021.
2021 Vanderbilt Handicap odds, field, contenders