How to bet the 2023 Jim Dandy Stakes
Who will prevail in Saturday’s $500,000 Jim Dandy (G2) at Saratoga? The 1 1/8-mile race has come up strong with four graded stakes winners among the five entries, but believe it or not, the least accomplished horse in the field might be the most likely winner.
That would be #4 Saudi Crown, a talented up-and-comer with only three starts under his belt. The son of 2017 Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Always Dreaming won his first two starts sprinting in impressive fashion, then stretched out to finish second in the one-mile Dwyer (G3) at Belmont Park.
Saudi Crown ran a giant race in the Dwyer. First he carved out intense fractions of :22.47, :44.63, and 1:08.84. Then he battled on to finish only a nose behind the improving Pat Day Mile (G2) runner-up Fort Bragg, with the rest of the field 11 lengths behind.
What makes Saudi Crown particularly appealing in the Jim Dandy is the fact he’s the only speed horse in the field. That’s right—the other four entrants prefer settling off the early lead. In fact, none of them have ever been positioned in first or second place at the opening call of a race, even though they’ve made a combined 30 starts.
The way the Jim Dandy is shaping up, Saudi Crown seemed destined to secure an uncontested lead. If he sets a slower pace than in the Dwyer (which seems certain), he’ll have every chance to turn back the late runners in the final three furlongs and secure his first graded stakes score.
Let’s key Saudi Crown on top of #2 Forte and #1 Disarm in the exacta and trifecta. Forte was voted champion two-year-old male of 2022 after winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1), and his 2023 exploits include a Florida Derby (G1) victory over future Kentucky Derby winner Mage plus a game runner-up finish in the Belmont (G1).
As for Disarm, he finished fourth in the Kentucky Derby, then overcame a slow pace to rally and win the Matt Winn (G3) racing 1 1/8 miles at Ellis Park. The form of that effort was flattered when runner-up Verifying came back to win the Indiana Derby (G3).
Jim Dandy wagers