Short but exciting cast set for Jim Dandy
Saturday’s $600,000 Jim Dandy (G2) at Saratoga will lose some cross-entered horses to other three-year-old stakes this weekend, but the presence of three confirmed runners -- Grade 1 winners Frosted and Texas Red, along with the up-and-coming Japan – makes the 1 1/8-mile race a compelling event.
TwinSpires Wood Memorial (G1) winner Frosted, a clear second behind American Pharoah in the Belmont Stakes (G1), easily tops the field in BRIS Prime Power (149.7) and figures to take some beating for Kiaran McLaughlin. Joel Rosario will be up on the gray colt, who has registered BRIS Speed ratings of 104 and 107 in his last three starts.
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) winner Texas Red was knocked off the Kentucky Derby trail earlier this year by injury but returned from a five-month layoff with a respectable effort in the July 4 Dwyer (G3), finishing second to the highly-regarded Speightster in the one-mile event. The Keith Desormeaux trainee is a candidate to move forward off the tightener and should appreciate Saturday’s added ground. Kent Desormeaux rides.
Japan, one of several promising sophomores in the red-hot barn of Hall of Famer Bill Mott, will make his graded stakes debut. The Medaglia d’Oro colt rolled to an impressive maiden win at Churchill Downs in late April before posting a 1 ¼-length score in the Easy Goer Stakes on the Belmont Stakes undercard. He was flattered by runner-up Stanford, who came back to easily capture the Long Branch Stakes at Monmouth Park, and Japan will be seeking his third straight victory with Junior Alvarado.
Frammento, whose best career showing was a third in the Fountain of Youth (G2) earlier this season, is the only other confirmed starter in the seven-horse Jim Dandy.
Trainer Richard Violette Jr. announced Wednesday that Upstart would run in Sunday’s $1.75 Haskell Invitational (G1) at Monmouth Park, which is also a possible destination for Jim Dandy entrants Competitive Edge and Tekton.
Friday’s $100,000 Curlin Stakes, a 1 1/8-mile test for three-year-olds who haven’t won a graded stakes in 2015, surely took some potential horses from the Jim Dandy field. It also attracted only seven entrants and combining both races would’ve offered much more appeal to horseplayers.
Jim Dandy entrant Tekton is among the in-limbo horses in the Curlin along with Stanford and Tommy Macho from the Todd Pletcher shedrow. All three were cross-entered to Saturday’s West Virginia Derby (G2) as well.
Dwyer third-placer Tommy Macho is listed as the 2-1 choice on the Curlin morning line, with Stanford installed at 3-1. Tekton, who exits a head second in the June 21 Pegasus (G3) at Monmouth, is the early 3-1 third favorite.
Dwyer fourth-placer Smart Transition is another possible Curlin contender for trainer John Shirreffs.