I Like Two Horses in the Jim Dandy and One of Them May Surprise You

Stay Thirsty wins 2011 Gotham Stakes.

I like two horses in tomorrow’s $500,000 Jim Dandy Stakes and one of them may surprise you. It appears to be an excellent betting race, with four horses likely to vie for favoritism, and good reason to believe that only of them is fully geared up to win. Meanwhile, there is a live long shot who should be ready to run a lifetime best and take advantage of many of the favorites running in this race as a prep. Let's take a closer look at the field.


One of the four favorites is Dominus, and I consider him as strictly the horse to beat. The lightly raced son of Smart Strike has run nothing but excellent races so far in his four-race career, and looks to be coming up to the Jim Dandy perfectly. Just as Kensei did for the same connections two years ago, I expect Dominus to carry his strong early speed to wins in both the Dwyer and Jim Dandy. Without a lot of early speed in here, he should have plenty left in his first try around two turns.


The only horse that should be able to stick with him early on will be my long shot selection. Since his return to dirt racing, Will's Wildcat has run three very good races. Two sharp wins at Churchill, including a powerful optional claiming win against good horses in fast time, proceeded his first stakes try in Monmouth's Long Branch Stakes, where he weakened late to be beaten by only three lengths. That race should do him a world of good, and he is likely to see less taxing early fractions tomorrow. At double digit odds, I believe he offers excellent value. 
I am not buying the other potential speed in the race, as the only time Moonshine Mullin ever was on the lead was in his last race, but that came after a half in over 50 seconds. 
As far as the other favorites, one of my favorite betting angles this time of year is to bet against horses in their first race after the Belmont. The grueling race in June invariably dulls a horse next time out, and especially those horses running in the Jim Dandy, where the distance and track are so very different. There is no doubt that Gotham winner, Stay Thirsty, and Blue Grass hero, Brilliant Speed are classy horses, but coming directly out of the Belmont should make the Jim Dandy nothing more than a tightener for them. 
While Alternation is a horse I have liked for some time, it is hard to recommend him at low odds, with his out of the clouds running style. Horses like that generally are up against it at this distance at Saratoga, and with the chance of an off track, the speed types should only be that much tougher to run down. Throw in the layoff and Alternation looks like a horse who will rally up late for 3rd or 4th in his attempt to prepare for the Travers. 
The last one to mention is a horse that scares me a bit. Scotus is an improving sort, who is coming off a lifetime best for trainer Ken McPeek. He does have the tactical speed to stay somewhat close, and if he continues to improve may be the one to upset the apple cart. He looks like he may be a shade cheaper than these, but he is worth a few dollars underneath in the exotics.  
Now as far as what this means for the most important race of the summer, next month's Travers, the answer is very little. The Jim Dandy is where the speed of Dominus and Will's Wildcat will shine, while the Travers will be a totally different ball of wax. Look for all three horses favorites I am picking against tomorrow, Alternation, Brilliant Speed, and Stay Thirsty to have a much better chance in the ten furlong MidSummer Derby. In fact, Stay Thirsty is my early Travers selection. The Jim Dandy should serve in raising their odds next time, when they will be ready to fire their best shot.  
Keep in mind, the Jim Dandy is a prep for the Travers. Expect to see different results in the two races. Tomorrow, I expect it to be all about Dominus and Will's Wildcat. 
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Older Comments about I Like Two Horses in the Jim Dandy and One of Them May Surprise You...

I really did not want my Travers pick to win the Jim Dandy, (for odds sake) but he did ... and boy did he!!!
Thirsty loves his New York :)
If it's muddy however... which it very well may be. Exacta box Thirsty and Brilliant Speed. The rest won't know what they're doing in mud.
Dominus looks great according to his lineage - but he'll be the favorite and I hate to play faves. My alternative? $2 tribox - Brilliant Speed, Alternation, and Stay Thirsty. Stay Thirsty looks amazing but he'll be second favorite if anyone knows what the hell they're doing. So maybe wheel it? Stay Thirsty on top on Alternation, Brilliant Speed, Dominus? Ooohhhh....
Interesting second pick! I'm not sold on Dominus, it seems pretty wide open to me, but I think I'm going with Alternation over Dominus. Wary of Brilliant Speed and Stay Thirsty though, I'll have to take a look at them warming up on track before I make my final selections. :)
Stay Thirsty loves New York, but I'll go with Dominus
I'm fully behind Dominus, can't wait to see this race!
If the track comes up sloppy..all the more reason to like Stay Thirsty : )
If the track does come up sloppy, I like my speedy picks all the better.
This race will probably be a tightener for many, because of it's satus. If it's muddy then Stay Thirsty moves even farther up. I do like Dominus but he needs to reliquish the lead to a horse like Moonshine or WW. If he tries to take it wire to wire he will have a hard time.
I like Dominus a lot.

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