Jim Dandy 2016: Odds and Analysis

July 30, 2016 03:11pm
Creator Destin Belmont 615 X 400 Mary Cage
Photo: Mary Cage

The 2016 Jim Dandy (G2) features three of the top four finishers from the Belmont Stakes in Creator, Destin, and Governor Malibu; along with Mohaymen, who is returning after a fourth place in Kentucky Derby. The Jim Dandy has been run at Saratoga since 1964 and serves as the traditional prep race for the Travers (G1), which will be run on August 27 in 2016. The Jim Dandy is run at a mile and an eighth, restricted to three-year-olds, and carries a $600,000 purse.

Creator 2-1 [Tapit, Steve Asmussen, Irad Ortiz] The Belmont Stakes winner, will be making his first start since upsetting the third jewel of the Triple Crown as a 16-1 longshot. Creator, who is the most experienced horse in the Jim Dandy field with 10 career starts, will be looking for his fourth victory to go with the Belmont Stakes and his two wins at Oaklawn Park, a maiden and the Arkansas Derby (G1). Since the Saratoga meeting began the main track has distinctly been playing to horses coming from off the pace.

Creator, who is trained by Steve Asmussen, has been training forwardly at the Spa, "He's gotten a lot out of his gallops here at Oklahoma [the Saratoga training track] and I liked his work over the main track last week so I feel really good about him. My only concern with the Jim Dandy, going from a mile and a half to a mile and an eighth, is that it may be a bit short for him, but I feel good about it as a prep for the Travers."

He will be making a serious run down the stretch, but will he have enough ground to get the win? Serious Contender

Destin 5-2 [Giant’s Causeway, Todd Pletcher, Castellano] Destin, who missed winning the Belmont by just a nose after being pushed early in the race by his former stablemate, Gettysburg, has opted for the Jim Dandy over the Haskell Invitational. Destin finished sixth in the Kentucky Derby after winning two stops on the Derby trail at Tampa Bay Downs. This Todd Pletcher runner is likely to try and win this race on or near the lead. The Saratoga strip has not been kind to early runners thus far, but Destin has the quality to overcome that tendency especially if he is unpressured. Top Pick

Governor Malibu 6-1 [Malibu Moon, Christophe Clement, Rosario] His fourth place finish in the Belmont does not begin to tell the full story as many feel that he could have easily been the winner if not for a troubled trip coming home. This New York-bred had to seriously check along the inside at the quarter pole and then again at the eighth pole when he appeared to be moving best of all. Trainer Christophe Clement has had Governor Malibu improving since he last won in the Tesio at Laurel in the spring. Governor Malibu should be making a late run in the final furlong and could be a good value considering the big names in the race. Serious Contender

Mohaymen 2-1 [Tapit, Kiaran McLaughlin, Alvarado] was considered a top Kentucky Derby contender in the winter and spring after wins in the Holy Bull and Fountain of Youth had him unbeaten in five starts. A fourth place loss to Nyquist in the Florida Derby put a blemish on his resume. He did, however look good in his fourth place finish in the Kentucky Derby. At that point McLaughlin sent him to the farm for a few weeks of rest and relaxation and since then he has been training well on the training track at Greentree and on the main at Saratoga.

"He hasn't missed a beat. I'm not worried about the time [between races]. He went home for three weeks and that was it. He's doing great," said McLaughlin.

I believe that some of these sons of Tapit need time to mature and that is when they eventually do their best running. I think that we have yet to see the best from Mohaymen and that in the Jim Dandy we will see a new and improved horse. Serious Contender

Laoban 15-1 [Uncle Mo, Eric Guillot, Jose Ortiz] Laoban continues his quest to break his maiden in graded stakes company. His presence in the race ensures that there will be an honest early pace. At the same time Laoban now gives Destin a pacesetter to stalk and that is what he does best. The question is how long will Laoban carry his speed before he tires and fades? On this Saratoga track, my guess is six furlongs. I sure wish Guillot would let this horse win a maiden special weight and then possibly a first level allowance. No Better Than Fourth Place

Race Me Home 12-1 [Oasis Dream (GB), Dale Romans, L. Saez] This Irish-bred colt is short on experience with just four career starts that include only a maiden victory at Churchill Downs. Most recently he finished second in the Easy Goer on Belmont Stakes Day between two talented runners, Economic Model and Rally Cry. This late running Dale Romans three-year-old is facing a serious step up in class. Longshot

BETTING STRATEGY – My top two horses in the field are Destin and Mohaymen, but those two are very close in my mind, thus I am hoping to play an Exacta Box 3-4 as long as the $2 payoff is somewhere between $15 and $20.


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Meet Matt Shifman

Matt Shifman has been on the Horse Racing Nation staff since 2011 and currently serves as Assistant Editor. Matt covers Aqueduct, Belmont Park, Monmouth Park, and Saratoga in his two HRN blogs, Racing at the Jersey Shore and New York State of Racing.

Since 2012, Matt has been a voter in the NTRA weekly polls for the Top Thoroughbred and Top Three-Year-Old.

Recently, Matt helped launch Derby Day Racing, a new 2-year-old racing partnership, that just purchased a promising Lookin At Lucky filly named Sooner Schooner.

You may also know Matt by his Twitter, Facebook, and HRN screen nameAndyScoggin.

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