Jim Dandy rematch likely in Travers
Edited press release
Jim Dandy (G2) winner Laoban has emerged from his breakthrough maiden victory in good order, trainer Eric Guillot reported Sunday morning.
"Everything's good. He ate up almost everything - he left a little bit which is normal for him, especially as late as it was," said Guillot. "He's not tired, he's doing great."
Laoban made history as the first maiden to win the Jim Dandy when he and jockey Jose Ortiz led wire-to-wire to win by 1 1/4 lengths as the longest shot on the board at odds of 27-1. Guillot added that the $1.25 million Travers (G1) on August 27 would be the presumptive target for the strapping son of Uncle Mo.
"It's the horseracing business, you've always got to go day-to-day with these animals, but that's my long-term plan," said the Louisiana native, who saddled Moreno to graded stakes victories at 3, 4 and 5 years old, including a 10-1 upset of the Whitney (G1) in 2014.
"That's why I get up at 4:30 in the morning. I get up for the big dances, not to run in maiden races," he said. "That's what I like to do and I'm good at it."
Beaten as the favorite in Saturday's Jim Dandy, Shadwell Stable's Mohaymen emerged from the race in good order, said trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, who admitted he was still puzzled by the multiple Grade 2 winner's third straight defeat.
The 1 1/8-mile Jim Dandy was Mohaymen's first start since a closing fourth in the Kentucky Derby (G1) May 7. Previously he was a non-threatening fourth in the Florida Derby (G1) April 2 at Gulfstream Park, his first loss after four straight victories.
"We're disappointed and don't have a lot of excuses. He took dirt a long way and was in tight all the way," McLaughlin said. "The first four races of his life he always moved out away and finished strong. His last three he hasn't quite been that way. The Kentucky Derby he finished very well. Yesterday, you'd like to say he might have needed the race but he doesn't blow at all and only took three or four sips of water. It's just frustrating. We're going to try to think about what to do going forward."
McLaughlin spoke by phone Sunday morning with Rick Nichols, Shadwell's American-based vice president and general manager, and left the Travers in play.
"He said as long as he looks OK, we can look at the Travers. But, he has to be OK and keep going," McLaughlin said. "He's just been a little disappointing and a bit of a puzzle for us to try to figure out. That's what we're going to try to do. He looked good this morning."
Mohaymen stumbled and nearly went to his nose at the break, but gathered himself under regular rider Junior Alvarado and settled in midpack along the rail for a half-mile behind pacesetting winner Laoban. They made a belated run after getting outside after turning for home but wound up beaten 5 3/4 lengths.
"[The stumble] didn't help, but looking at races as often as we do he recovered quickly," McLaughlin said. "We had talked before the race about trying to get him out into the clear. [Alvarado] said to me, 'What do you think?' and I said the rail hasn't been great, if you could just tip out and be in the two or three path. He didn't really have an opportunity to do that. He was in pretty tight all the way. It's just the way it went. Sometimes horses don't like that dirt in their face that long."
Destin, edged for second by Governor Malibu in the Jim Dandy, came out of his third-place finish in good order and remains on schedule for the Travers.
"He seemed to come out of the race well," trainer Todd Pletcher said. "I think we got the trip that we wanted.
"Javier [Castellano] still seems to think he's figuring things out a little bit. He felt like he was kind of just clocking that horse [Laoban] in front of him and kind of had a little difficulty getting him to focus in and go by that horse, and kind of re-engaged when Governor Malibu came up on the inside of him.
"It's something we've been working on, playing with his equipment and blinkers and this and that, but part of it is just experience and hopefully learning how to polish off the race. I don't think we'll take the blinkers off; we might play with a shadow roll or something like that, but haven't decided yet. We'll probably experiment a little bit in his breezes."
Photo courtesy NYRA/Coglianese Photography