Thu 26/07/2018 - 16:22 EDT

2018 Jim Dandy Stakes Picks

2018 Jim Dandy Stakes Picks

Jim Dandy Stakes Preview and Odds

In a graded-stakes race for more than a half-million dollars, it's a bit unusual to encounter a field where no horse comes in off a last-out victory, but that's exactly what we have in the compact five-horse field of the 1 1/8 mile Jim Dandy.

In fact, taken as a whole, the field is a combined 0-for-10 in each horses' last two starts, and only have two wins between them in their last 15. That's a pretty uninspring record in a group where four of them were all at one point considered to have a chance at getting a good result in at least one of the Triple Crown races.

As the even-money morning line favorite Vino Rosso created some buzz last spring when he won the (G1) Wood Memorial Stakes at Aqueduct as his final prep before the Kentucky Derby. After running ninth at Churchill, he was given some excuse based on the fact he had to start way out in the #18 post position, and coming from near the back of the pack was a big disadvantage on the sloppy Derby dirt.

He was expected to improve off that effort in the Belmont Stakes, and while he was fourth of 10 there (and, let's face it, no one was beating Justify that day), he was in serious contention for the runner-up spot but was passed late by two others. It could be that the 1 1/2 miles of the Belmont was asking too much, and the big cut back in distance here should help. But while not a stone-cold closer, he seems to be the kind of horse that needs a good pace setup to run at, and with this small field and a distinct lack of speed in the race, it's not the ideal situation for him. 

Sporting Chance Back at His Favorite Track

Looking for some value in a field of underachivers, Sporting Chance (8-1) is an interesting option. Trained by Wayne Lukas, he looked very promising last fall, when the won the (G1) Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga. But he had trouble replicating that performace in 2018, and has been out of the money in his last four starts, and failed to gain enough points to qualify for the Kentucky Derby. 

The two things that stand out for him is that he's back on the Saratoga dirt for the first time since winning the Hopeful, and after two straight starts with jockey Luis Contreras, he's back with Luis Saez, who was aboard for all of his best races. Sometimes just a couple subtle changes like that are enough to take a shot at what should be decent odds.

Like Vino Rosso, Tenfold (8-5) had generated some interest when he joined the Triple Crown trail in time for the Preakness Stakes based on earlier results. He had started his career with a pair of fairly impressive lower-level wins at Oaklawn Park, but missed his chance to qualify for the Kentucky Derby when he ran fifth in the (G1) Arkansas Derby. He was a decent third in the Preakness, but in only his fifth lifetime start didn't appear to move forward at all when running fifth at Belmont. 

That makes him 0-for-3 in graded stakes races, and he needs to prove he can handle the higher class of racing before he gets a recommendation for a win at that level. 

If the race was anything less than 1 1/8 miles, Ontario-bred Flameaway (7-2) would be worth some consideration for the win. He has actually won five of 11 lifetime starts, including a pair of Grade 3 wins and also has a pair of Grade 2 runner-up finishes. He was in a very good position early in the Kentucky Derby and had every chance to to get in the money, but as the official chart indicates he "caved" under the pace pressure at the one-mile mark and ended up 13th. Since then he was an uninspiring sixth in the (G3) Ohio Derby. 

Expect him to be on or near the lead early, but unless he's finds a way to carry his speed through nine furlongs, he's probably running for a minor reward. 

The Jim Dandy Stakes goes Saturday, July 28 from Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, New York. It's race #10 of 11 on the day, and the fourth of four graded-stakes races on the Saturday card. Expected post time is 6:18 PM Eastern.

Entries w/ ML Odds

  1. Flameaway (7-2)
  2. Tenfold (8-5)
  3. Reride (12-1)
  4. Sporting Chance (8-1)
  5. Vino Rosso (1-1)

Jim Dandy Stakes Picks

  • 1) #4 - Sporting Chance
  • 2) #3 - Vino Rosso
  • 3) #2 - Tenfold
  • 4) #1 - Flameaway

Betting at Saratoga Race Course

Whether you're already a horse racing fan or just getting into the game, the summer race meet at Saratoga should be the focus of your hadicapping efforts. Over seven weeks races are run every day except Tuesday, and during that time the track hosts dozens of major stakes races. Saturdays are always big at The Spa, and as mentioned earlier, in addition to the Jim Dandy, this Saturday will also see the running of the (G1) Alfred Vanderbilt and two other graded-stakes races. And you can bet the whole card with a Bovada racebook account.  

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