Spot Plays for Jim Dandy Day at Saratoga
Race 6 -- #2 TATHQEEF (10-1) appeared to relish a return to turf for the first time since his re-importation from England when beating entry-level allowance foes at Belmont in his most recent start. A solid second in his U.S. debut on dirt, he stayed on that surface several months afterwards but to no avail. The jump to N2X company won't be easy, but I like the fact he was battle tested overseas early last season against the likes of future Group 1 winners Hawkbill and Ventura Storm, as well as Group 3 winner Steel of Madrid, all in stakes action at Newmarket. Having fared decently against that kind, he's an interesting prospect for a barn off to a hot start this meet.
Race 8 -- Defending Alfred G. Vanderbilt (G1) titlist A. P. INDIAN was a sharp second to Whitmore at Pimlico in the Maryland Sprint (G3) and looks dangerous, as does the up-and-coming EL DEAL from the Jorge Navarro barn, but BIRD SONG (#5, 6-1) could surprise on the cut back in trip. No stranger to winning over six furlongs at the Spa, he's won four of his last six around one turn and had a valid excuse for his sub-par try in last year's King's Bishop (G1). Classy sort has already notched the Fred W. Hooper (G3) and Alysheba (G2) this year.
Race 9 -- SADLER'S JOY (#4, 3-1) couldn't make up ground over a bog in the Man o' War (G1) and got going too late in the shorter Manhattan (G1), but the step up to 1 3/8 miles should be right of his alley in this renewal of the Bowling Green (G2). His runs earlier this year in the slightly longer Pan American (G2) and W.L. McKnight (G3) were both rock-solid, and return of Castellano is a plus as he's won two of three aboard the four-year-old
Race 10 -- The Jim Dandy pits the Kentucky Derby (G1) winner ALWAYS DREAMING and Preakness (G1) upsetter CLOUD COMPUTING (#2, 6-5), and for the record I'll be siding with the latter. Both benefited from favorable trips/positions winning their respective classics, but potential early pressure from PAVEL and/or GIUSEPPE THE GREAT might soften Always Dreaming just enough to give Cloud Computing the edge late in the game. Definitely a great race to watch if not plunging into the pools.
Race 11 -- #4 FASHION WEEK's (8-1) form leaves something to be desired after two modest runs in dirt sprints, but she could very well step up her game on the switch to turf. She's by Speightstown, a 12% turf debut sire, and is out of Theyskens' Theory, a Group 3 winner in England who missed by a neck to Winter Memories in the 2011 Garden City (G1). This is a tough field, but improvement on her part is expected.
(Sadler's Joy photo: Lauren King/Adam Coglianese Photography)