In this weekend’s Horse Racing Race(s) of the week, we get the three year old male division cranked back up as we will be taking closer looks at both the 2013 Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga Racetrack in upstate New York on Saturday, which features 2013 Belmont Stakes winner Palace Malice in part:1 and the 2013 Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park in New Jersey on Sunday where 2013 Preakness winner Oxbox and 2013 Wood Memorial winner Verrazano are set to clash in part:2.
I’ll have part two up no later than Friday afternoon.
Neither race could come at a better time as, for the most part, the three year old male division is pretty much in shambles with Orb winning the Kentucky Derby, Oxbow winning the Preakness and Palace Malice winning the Belmont. I still say Orb, based on his two Grade: 1 wins (Kentucky and Florida Derbies), is the pro-tem division leader but he’s holding on by a thread if you ask me. Hopefully this weekend will help sort out a few things before the Travers next month.
A couple other races of note this weekend include the $200,000 San Diego Handicap at Del Mar on Sunday which will feature the continuation of the flat out remarkable story and comeback of Paynter.
The huge, good looking son of Awesome Again will be taking on five other rivals in the 1 1/16 miles event, they include stable-mate and stakes winner Liaison, Kettle Corn, who was second to Game on Dude in the Hollywood Gold Cup; Chief Havoc, a three year old, who was a blow out winner of the Swaps Stakes in his last, Californian Handicap winner Clubhouse Ride and the speedy Batti Man, who looks over matched to me but could figure prominently should he decide to run with Paynter early in the race.
The San Diego, which is a prep for the Pacific Million, will be Paynter’s second race back since a very near death experience last year. In his first race back, he won a seven furlong sprint at Hollywood Park in an eye popping 1:21.4…I’m sorry, but I cant help but to root for this horse after the pure guts and sheer will to survive he showed during his illness.
The other two major races that merit attention this weekend are the both on the Jim Dandy under-card. The first is Prioress Stakes, a six furlong sprint for three year old fillies. The speedy Kauai Kate will take on multiple stakes winner So Many Ways and five others.
Kauai Katie comes into this off a third place finish her last time out in the May 27 Acorn Stakes where she stumbled at the start and was seven lengths behind the winner (Midnight Lucky). The Acorn marked only her second loss in eight career starts.
So Many Ways also comes into this off a third-place finish (in the June 29 Iowa Oaks). Last year, So Many Ways won the Schuylerville Stakes and Spinaway both in dominant fashion.
Kauai Kate and So Many Ways are a combine 4 for 4 over the Saratoga strip, so something has to give.
While the Prioress is the 5th race on Saturdays Saratoga card and the Jim Dandy is the 8th, be sure to take notice of the 7th race, the $600,000, Grade: 1 Diana Stakes on the turf for fillies and mares going nine furlongs.
The race drew six contestants of which four are already Grade: 1 stakes winners (Stephanie’s Kitten- Alcibiades Stakes, Centre Court- Jenny Wiley Stakes, the aptly named Dayatthespa-Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup and Garden City Stakes winner Samitar.) and half of the field are trained by Chad Brown.
The Diana should not only prove to be a sensational race but the winner should move closer to the top of the female turf division as well.
Saratoga – Saturday, July 27, 2013
Race 10 – 5:45 PM
Jim Dandy Stakes (Grade II)
For Three Year Olds
One And One Eighth Miles
D C Peitz
Will Take Charge
D W Lukas
J L Ortiz
E J Guillot
M E Smith
T A Pletcher
T M Amoss
E S Prado
C A Nafzger
J R Velazquez
1) Palace Malice- is the obvious and deserving favorite to win this race based on his Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes performances.
In the Derby, he set a kamikaze-like early pace and understandably wilted late (12th). He then skipped the Preakness and came back to, albeit it clearly tiring late (he ran the last half mile in a snail-like :54.1), win the Belmont Stakes.
In the Belmont, he was in a stalking position thru the first quarter mile, assumed command at the half mile pole, opened up some daylight and held sway to win by more than three lengths.
He must do something similar on Saturday afternoon. He must not, under any circumstances, get caught up in an early speed dual because if he does, he’ll be inhaled late by a plethora of stretch runners entered against him. Needless to say, he’s going to need a “heads up” ride and who better to give him that than Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith.
“I think we need a bridge from the Belmont to the Travers, and this is a good place to do it,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “The Jim Dandy on its own is a very significant race, and we’re not (just) using it as a prep. We’re hoping to run well here and move forward to the Travers.”
“I think he’s blossomed out of them (the Derby and Belmont),” Pletcher added. “He’s a May foal, so he’s starting to come into his own. He’s gained weight, and he’s gotten stronger. If anything, I think the Derby and the Belmont have propelled him forward.”
Albeit the Belmont was just his second career win (in eight career starts), please note the other win he recorded was over this very surface last August 4th. Also, note the last two works (again, over this track) were strong.
The bottom line is he appears to be the best horse on paper, he evidently likes this track and the serious cut back in distance all add up to what should be the winner here folks.
2) Mylute- this gray colt by the enormous (and fast) Midnight Lute possesses quite a late run as demonstrated in his last three races.
Going back to the March 30 Louisiana Derby, he was 11th (of 14) at the half mile pole, came six wide on the turn for home, collared the talented Revolutionary in deep stretch but just couldn’t get past him….it was a very impressive effort regardless.
From there, he was entered in the Kentucky Derby where, once again, he was as far back as second to last and some 19-20 lengths out of it but came with another six wide run (he must like the six path or something…I don’t know) to get beat less than four lengths for the all the money.
Yet after those two huge efforts, the Preakness might have quietly have been his best race yet. He was the only….and I mean only….one who was doing any running down the stretch in the Preakness Stakes. He was going better than even the winner (Oxbox, who was totally rubber legged in the final sixteenth) but he just was left with too much to do.
Overall, he’s hit the board eight times in 11 career starts and that June 28 work (6F- 1:12) does grab my attention. To me, he is a “must use” in any exacta or triple combination.
3) Code West- although it was back in February this dark brown rigdling, by the gorgeous Lemon Drop Kid, actually owns a decision over Palace Malice….so you never know.
He seems to be coming into this race in top form based of his back to back wins and by that last work (July 9- 5F- :59).
“After his last race at Churchill Downs (a win in the Grade: 2 Matt Winn Stakes by 1 ¼ lengths), we thought he deserved a chance to find out if he can step it up,” trainer Bob Baffert said. “Hopefully, if he runs well here, he’ll go on to the Travers.”
He is another who is as consistent as the day is long while hitting the board in nine of 10 careers starts. I expect a good effort from this horse also come Saturday, but I must admit, I am a little troubled over that 18 day gap of workout inactivity (from June 9 to June 27)…what was wrong that he skipped a scheduled work?
Moreno, who absolutely turned his career around since shipping to the east coast. After losing his first nine straight races up and down the west coast, this gelding, by the wickedly fast Ghostzapper, came to New York (Belmont Park) and has been dazzling. He broke his maiden by over six lengths while leading every step of the way and then came right back and annihilated his foes in the Grade; 2 Dwyer (by 7)in the same wire to wire fashion….he’ll be in front as far as he goes and if the rest of the field isn’t careful? He could make every pole a winning one. Bashaar, if you are a long-shot player? This is your horse. He’s shown some stretch running ability in the past and although it was against inferior competition, if he gets a fast pace you could be hearing from him in deep stretch.
Record: 12-36 = 33%
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Palace Malice, shown here winning the 2013 Belmont Stakes, should be a solid favorite in the Jim Dandy