The Grade 1, $300,000 Forego Stakes Presented by America's Best Racing has always been a summer showcase for some of the top sprinters in North America and the 2020 edition is no exception.
Among the 11 horses who are expected to run there are four millionaires, led by Whitmore ($3.19 million), winner of this race in 2018 and last seen finishing second in the Grade 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap last month at Saratoga. Firenze Fire ($1.9 million) won the Grade 3 Sanford Stakes on this main track as a 2-year-old in 2017 and ran second in the 2019 Forego. He finished fourth most recently in the Vanderbilt following a victory in the Grade 2 True North Stakes in June. Mind Control ($1 million) won the Grade 1 H. Allen Jerkens Stakes at Saratoga last summer and comes into the race off a third-place finish in the Vanderbilt. True Timber ($1 million) hasn’t won since September of 2018 but has been second or third in five graded stakes since then and could be a factor. Then there’s a slew of horses who may step up to the test, including a pair saddled by the meeting’s leading trainer Chad Brown. Complexity is one of those. He won the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes in the fall of 2018, returned from a six-month layoff to win in July and could be ready to run as well at this level. The other is Fortin Hill, who has won three of four starts to date in his career. Everfast, who finished second in the 2019 Preakness Stakes, enters the Forego off a win on the Saratoga main track and is seeking to continue that success. Win Win Win, a stakes winner on dirt and turf, finished second to Complexity in his most recent race and might be headed in the right direction as well. Lexitonian, who had to be scratched at the gate in the Vanderbilt, shipped across the country to contest the Grade 1 Bing Crosby Stakes four weeks ago and missed by a nose, so he definitely fits here. Funny Guy brings a perfect 2-for-2 record at Saratoga into the race, including a win last month in the John Morrissey Handicap for horses bred in New York. Majestic Dunhill has also been very sharp at the top level on occasion and could be a contender. He finished second two starts back in the First Defence Stakes at the distance of the Forego but on turf.
I think Lexitonian has a slight edge in this year’s Forego Stakes. He has always shown promise since winning the Grade 3 Chick Lang Stakes on Preakness Stakes weekend last year, but after winning the Concern Stakes at Laurel Park last July he then went on a four-race losing streak. However, in one of those races, the Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix Stakes last October, Lexitonian ran good enough to win as he made the lead in the stretch and ended up just a half-length behind the winner and a nose behind runner-up Whitmore. The losing streak came to an end in May when Lexitonian won an allowance race at Churchill Downs. Following that, his connections were so high on his chances he was entered in the Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap on July 25, but was scratched at the gate when another horse acted up and he sat down for just a moment. Shipping to California for the Bing Crosby Stakes on Aug. 1, Lexitonian ran the best race of his career, earning a 116 Equibase Speed Figure and rallying from sixth to miss by a nose at the finish line. That 116 speed figure is the best last-race figure in the field, and if Lexitonian can repeat the effort he can take home top honors in a very strong Forego Stakes field.
Chad Brown’s pair of Complexity and Fortin Hill could both be up to the task in the Forego. Both are 4-year-olds who are lightly raced and enter the Forego off wins. Complexity, who has won four of seven starts, earned his most recent victory on July 2, duplicating the career-best 107 Equibase Speed Figure he earned winning the Champagne Stakes in summer 2018. Making his second start following a six-month layoff, Complexity appears very likely to run even better. Fortin Hill has won three of four career starts and finished second in the other. He also recently won off a layoff, with a decisive victory on July 4 following 2 1/2 months off. That effort earned a 106 figure and he, too, should improve in his second start off a freshening.
Honorable mention goes to a number of horses, particularly to Whitmore, who won the 2018 edition of the Forego. First or second in four straight stakes this year, including when winning the Count Fleet Sprint Handicap with a 114 figure in April, Whitmore makes his second start following three months off and was in no way disgraced when second in the Vanderbilt Stakes on this track last month when second to rising star Volatile.
The rest of the field (with best Equibase Speed Figure): Everfast (103), Firenze Fire (111), Funny Guy (112), Majestic Dunhill (112), Mind Control (113), True Timber (111), and Win Win Win (112).
Main Win Contenders: