Hanson: Destin the Jim Dandy key to conclude Pick 3
Destin entered the Run for the Roses off two strong efforts at Tampa Bay Downs, but with a gap of eight weeks since the Tampa Bay Derby (G2). Even in this era of fewer preps and longer gaps between starts, eight weeks seemed a bit much. And it was.
Even if you thought Mohaymen was thoroughly exposed in the wake of his first defeat in the Florida Derby (G1), chances are the recency and fitness edge he had over Destin would enable him to outrun that particular rival. There was only 2 1/2 lengths separating the two at the finish, but Mohaymen perhaps did benefit from a more recent run.
Mohaymen now enters the Jim Dandy off a 12-week break, while Destin is just seven weeks removed from a narrow defeat in the Belmont S. (G1). The Kiaran McLaughlin barn is admittedly on fire, but that almost guarantees the price on Mohaymen will be shorter than perhaps it should be.
I generally found Destin's performances at Tampa slightly better than Mohaymen's in the Holy Bull (G2) and Fountain of Youth (G2). Between the two, I'll take Destin.
Belmont winner Creator can not be ignored. He might even be better than the other two in the long term, especially in the 1 1/4-mile Travers (G1) next month. That race is the ultimate goal, though, and I don't believe he'll be fully cranked to win this prep. Nor do I envision Laoban setting a pace as fast as the one Creator took advantage of in the nine-furlong Arkansas Derby (G1).
Destin is my key in the Pick 3 that begins in race 8 and ends with the Jim Dandy. Here's my $12 ticket: 2,3,4,7 with 2,6,7 with 4.