The Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga is a Grade 2, $600,000 prize for three-year-olds going 1 1/8 miles that has often been an enigma for handicappers. On one hand, it is a rich and important race on the three-year-old stakes calendar, but on the other hand it also really boils to be a prep race for next month’s Travers Stakes (G1), which is the most important prize remaining in the three-year-old division until the Breeders’ Cup. They often say that pace makes the race, and certainly the pace – or lack thereof – will play a role in the outcome of the Jim Dandy. There is no legitimate pacesetter entered in the six-horse Jim Dandy field, and deep closers in the race such as Tacitus and Laughing Fox will suffer. The horses in the field who do have tactical speed – Tax and Global Campaign – should take advantage of a soft pace scenario and be able to knock off their higher-profile rivals. ANALYSIS This year’s Jim Dandy drew a pair of big names from the Triple Crown races – Preakness Stakes (G1) winner WAR OF WILL, and Wood Memorial Stakes (G1) winner and Belmont Stakes (G1) runner-up TACITUS. As those horses exit the Triple Crown grind and ramp-up for their ultimate goal in the Travers, the Jim Dandy represents a prime spot to go against such horses and key your plays on the other best horses in the race – TAX and GLOBAL CAMPAIGN. Those runners would be cranked and pointing for a win in the Jim Dandy much more so than others who have their eyes set further down the road to the Travers Stakes and beyond. Plus, Tax and Global campaign will enjoy a pace edge in the Jim Dandy as horses that have legitimate tactical speed. Go against the closers like LAUGHING FOX, MIHOS and TACITUS, and key your plays on the horses in the Jim Dandy with tactical speed, Tax and Global Campaign. Throw in War of Will in your trifectas, even though he probably won’t be fully cranked until next month’s Travers Stakes. WAGERS $5 Exacta Box #2 Tax and #4 Global Campaign = $10 $1 Trifecta Box #2 Tax, #4 Global Campaign, and #6 War of Will = $6 Here’s a brief look at the Jim Dandy field: LAUGHING FOX (#1) (15-1) is an extreme late runner who will be at a pace disadvantage in this running of the Jim Dandy which seems to have come up soft in the speed department without much pace to chase. Won the newly-created $300,000 Oaklawn Invitational as a springboard to a fifth-place finish in the Preakness Stakes (G1), where his late run was too late at 1 3/16 miles with a better pace to chase for trainer Steve Asmussen. Tough assignment. TAX (#2) (8-1) seems to be at his best at this distance of 1 1/8 miles, with his two best efforts to date coming at nine furlongs in his win in the Withers (G3) at Aqueduct followed by his second-place finish in the Wood Memorial Stakes (G2) this spring behind Tacitus. Pressed the pace last out in the Belmont Stakes (G1) en route to a respectable fourth-place finish, and has since gone back to the drawing board for trainer Danny Gargan with a cutback in distance into this race in mind all along. Has tactical speed, which will give him a big advantage over many of the late runners in this field who will have little legitimate pace to chase, perhaps other than this guy who will be cruising up front along with Global Campaign. MIHOS (#3) (15-1) earned his claim-to-fame win back on January 5 at Gulfstream Park in the $100,000 Mucho Macho Man Stakes where he took advantage of a fast pace to pass the field at one mile around one turn. Fell short after that in easier spots in the Holy Bull Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park and the Dwyer Stakes (G3) at Belmont Park. Now lands in another spot in this race where he just doesn’t figure to get enough pace to help set-up his chances for a late-running upset. GLOBAL CAMPAIGN (#4) (2-1) exits an eye-opening victory in the 1 1/8-mile Peter Pan Stakes (G3) at Belmont Park in an effort that looks even better now that runner-up from that race Sir Winston went on to win the Belmont Stakes (G1) in his next outing. The BRIS Speed figure he earned in the Peter Pan was better than any Speed figure ever earned by horses like Tacitus and War of Will in all of their outings in the Triple Crown and on the Triple Crown trail this year. Pointed for this race, and has good tactical speed, which will come in handy in a race without much pace. Should get the jump on horses like Tacitus and War of Will, and should prove a worthy opponent to Tax up on or close to the front end in the Jim Dandy. TACITUS (#5) (7-5) put together back-to-back wins in the Wood Memorial Stakes (G2) and Tampa Bay Derby (G2) this spring and was second in the Belmont Stakes (G1), so he’s one of a select few horses that could still lay claim to the three-year-old championship depending on what he does during the second half of the season, starting with this race. The Belmont is a taxing grind and this late runner might struggle to get up in time at 1 1/8 miles with a questionable pace setting up in this race and eyes looking ahead for trainer Bill Mott to next month’s 1 1/4-mile Travers Stakes (G1). Good but beatable morning line favorite at 7-5 odds. WAR OF WILL (#6) (5-2) is fresh off the Triple Crown grind of having raced in all three of the Kentucky Derby-Preakness-Belmont, and definitely has neck month’s Travers Stakes (G1) in mind when entering this race to kick off the second-half of the season. Don’t get me wrong, with the three-year-old division up for grabs, they’re trying to win this, however, might not be pointed to be at their best for this race as opposed to the rematch with Maximum Security upcoming in the Travers. Preakness winner also took the Risen Star Stakes (G2) and Lecomte Stakes (G3) at Fair Grounds this year, so we know this 1 1/8-mile distance hits him between the eyes despite the fact that none of those wins came at the Jim Dandy’s distance of 1 1/8 miles. Will be low odds, however, and vulnerable in his first race back since the Triple Crown grind. PHOTO: War of Will (c) Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club