Jim Dandy and Diana Top Huge Weekend At Saratoga

Sensational Belmont Stakes (G1) winner Palace Malice seems all set to make his first start since that fine triumph in the $600,000 Jim Dandy Stakes (G2) for 3-year-olds, a premier prep for the $1 million G1 Travers on August 24, at Saratoga Race Course on Saturday. Trained by Todd Pletcher, the sophomore son of Curlin was a nice second in the Bluegrass S. (G1) this spring, and after running off early with blinkers on in the Kentucky Derby, the superb sophomore put it all together last time in a mostly facile triumph. The three-year-old colt also has proven capable here from last season at the Spa. 

The Todd Pletcher-trained colt faces nine challengers in the 1 1/8-mile event and Hall of Famer Mike Smith retains the mount.

Mylute skipped the Belmont following respectable efforts in the first two legs of the Triple Crown, rallying for fifth in the Derby and third in the Preakness. A confirmed late runner for Tom Amoss, the gray colt just missed when recording a neck second in the Louisiana Derby and has posted BRIS Speed ratings of 105-107-110 in his last three respective starts. Rosie Napravnik guides the son of Midnight Lute.

Will Take Charge is another Triple Crown veteran. He posted unplaced finishes in all three races, but the well-bred chestnut displayed nice class when capturing the Rebel and Smarty Jones at Oaklawn Park earlier this year and remains a candidate to run well here for D. Wayne Lukas. Junior Alvarado takes over the reins. Code West enters on the upswing for Bob Baffert, registering a 6 3/4-length allowance tally prior to a head win in the Grade 3 Matt Winn on June 15, and the late-blooming colt will pick up the services of Joel Rosario. 

Other contenders include Moreno, a seven-length winner of the July 6 Dwyer at Belmont Park; Freedom Child, who romped by 13 lengths in the Peter Pan two starts back; and Looking Cool and Bashaar, the respective first- and third-place finishers from the recent Iowa Derby.

On paper, Perfect Title will be the least accomplished horse in the starting gate, but that is of little concern to trainer Dallas Stewart. The colt will be making his stakes debut following an eye-catching allowance victory over older horses at Churchill Downs.

"Did y'all see his last race?" Stewart said when asked about his colt's chances. "I know we're trying the big time here, but he's bred for it. He won as easy as a horse can win going a mile and an eighth. I was like, 'You know what? Why not.' I'm telling you, this son of a (gun) can run."

Also on Saturday is the $600,000 Diana Stakes (G1), which is set to attract some of the better turf distaffers in the region. 2012 Matriarch Handicap (G1) queen Better Lucky was a fine second in the Just A Game Stakes (G1) most recently and could be a big presence in this field for conditioner Tom Albertrani. The four-year-old Ghostzapper filly has run big on this oval in the past but is a better animal now nearing her peak, and she has trained steadily leading up to this affair.

Jenny Wiley (G1) queen Centre Court was fourth on the yielding going in the Just A Game while favored, but she is tons better than she showed on that day, and her easy win two back at Keeneland is a better indication of how good she can be for Rusty Arnold. Grade 1 heroine Dayatthespa, who was upset when second at Monmouth most recently, is perfect from two tries at The Spa and should be up front from the opening bell for Chad Brown. Group 2 queen Dream Peace, recent New York H. (G2) winner Starformer and champion Stephanie’s Kitten, a fine winner of the Just A Game S. (G1) last out, add to the incredible depth of this field.

The once-beaten Midnight Lucky, who dominated her foes with a 6 ¾-length romp in the Acorn S. (G1) most recently, looks like the main danger in the $300,000 Prioress S. (G1). Trained by Bob Baffert, the sensational daughter of Midnight Lute has a ton of speed and may find the cut back to six furlong just fine and a nice prep for the Test (G1) at seven later in the meeting.

Her main foe looks to be the speedy Kauai Katie, who is six for eight lifetime, with both losses coming at a mile or beyond. The Pletcher pupil has been superb in a pair of easy wins on this oval in her career and might be the one to catch with her best. So Many Ways, who won a pair of graded races here last summer, Jostle S. queen Lighthouse Bay and the top pair from the Victory Ride S. (G1); Baby J and Bridgehmapton, are also likely for this dash.

Bet the Jim Dandy Stakes and watch it live on TwinSpiresTV and NBC (5:45pm ET/2:45pm PT)

Saratoga Race Course 2013 Summer Wagering

The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) will present a $500,000 Guaranteed Late Pick 4 every Saturday at Saratoga Race Course and a $1 Million All Graded Stakes Pick 4 on Travers Day, August 24.

Although NYRA offers daily Pick 4’s on races 2 - 5 and the final four races of the day, the $500,000 guarantee applies only to the Late Pick 4 on Saturdays at Saratoga Race Course. The Late Pick 4 is a 50 cent minimum wager in which the bettor must correctly pick the winners of the last four races on the card, usually beginning with race eight.

On Travers Day, August 24, the guarantee will rise to $1 million in conjunction with the 144th running of the Grade 1, $1 million Travers Stakes. The Travers is supported by three additional graded events: the $500,000 Grade 1 Test, the $500,000 Grade 1 Foxwoods King’s Bishop, and the $250,000 Grade 2 Ballston Spa. The Late Pick 4 is scheduled to begin with Race 9 on Travers Day.

Handicapping Saratoga with Brisnet.com

North America’s most prestigious race meeting kicks off on Friday, and the best reports in the business are available at Brisnet.com.

Those planning to play the majority of the Saratoga season should check out Brisnet.com/summer for savings plans on Ultimate PPs, Daily Selections, and ALL-Ways data files for the entire meeting. Buy any of the summer racing packages and receive Track Stats free!

Whether you play every day or any day, though, Brisnet.com has the information you need to cash in big at Saratoga and all your favorite tracks.

NBC and NYRA to Host “Summer at Saratoga” Series

The New York Racing Association (NYRA) and the NBC Sports Group have announced the schedule for this year's "Summer at Saratoga" series, with five live broadcasts from Saratoga, starting on August 11 and running through September 1, and including such marquee races as the Alabama, Travers and Woodward.

Last year's NBC Sports Group coverage of the Saratoga meet marked the most extensive live national broadcast presence ever of racing from the prestigious track, and following the meet, NYRA and the NBC Sports Group announced a two-year extension for "Summer at Saratoga," which will bring live national coverage of the Saratoga meet through 2013.

The schedule for the NBC Sports Group's live coverage of the 2013 Saratoga meet is as follows (all times Eastern):

  • July 27:  Grade 1, $600,000 Diana and Grade 2, $600,000 Jim Dandy (5-6pm on NBC Sports Network)
  • August 3: Grade 1, $750,000 Whitney Invitational Handicap (5-6pm on NBC)
  • August 10: Grade 2, $500,000 Fourstardave Handicap (5-6pm on NBC)
  • August 11: Grade 2, $200,000 Adirondack and Grade 2, $200,000 Saratoga Special (5-6pm on NBC Sports Network)
  • August 17: Grade 1, $600,000 Alabama and Grade 1, $600,000 Sword Dancer Invitational (5-6pm on NBC Sports Network)
  • August 24: Grade 1, $500,000 Foxwoods King’s Bishop and Grade 1, $1 million Travers (4:30-6pm on NBC)
  • August 31:  Grade 2, $250,000 Bernard Baruch Handicap, G1 $500,000 Forego and Grade 1, $750,000 Woodward (4-6pm on NBC Sports Network)
Bet 2013 Summer Saratoga horse racing online with TwinSpires.com and watch it live on TwinSpiresTV and NBC!

Where is the Jim Dandy Stakes? Saratoga Race Course
When is the Jim Dandy Stakes? Saturday, July 27

Past Jim Dandy Winners

Year: Horse: Trainer Jockey
2012 Alpha Kiaran P. McLaughlin Ramon A. Dominguez
2011 Stay Thirsty Todd A. Pletcher Javier Castellano
2010 A Little Warm Anthony W. Dutrow John R. Velazquez
2009 Kensei Steven M. Asmussen Edgar S. Prado
2008 Macho Again Dallas Stewart Julien R. Leparoux
2007 Street Sense Carl Nafzger Calvin Borel
2006 Bernardini Thomas Albertrani Javier Castellano
2005 Flower Alley Todd Pletcher John Velazquez
2004 Purge Todd Pletcher John Velazquez
2003 Strong Hope Todd Pletcher John Velazquez
2002 Medaglia d'Oro Robert Frankel Jerry Bailey
2001 Scorpion D. Wayne Lukas Jerry Bailey
2000 Graeme Hall Todd Pletcher Jerry Bailey
1999 Ecton Park W. Elliott Walden Alex Solis
1998 Favorite Trick William I. Mott Pat Day
1997 Awesome Again David Hofmans Mike Smith
1996 Louis Quatorze Nick Zito Pat Day
1995 Composer William Mott Jerry Bailey
1994 Unaccounted For Flint S. Schulhofer Jose Santos
1993 Miner's Mark Claude R. McGaughey Chris McCarron
1992 Thunder Rumble Richard O'Connell Herb McCauley
1991 Fly So Free Flint S. Schulhofer Jose Santos
1990 Chief Honcho William I. Mott Mike Smith
1989 Is It True D. Wayne Lukas Jose Santos
1988 Brian's Time John M. Veitch Angel Cordero Jr.
1987 Polish Navy Claude R. McGaughey Pat Day
1986 Lac Quimet Richard J. Lundy Eddie Maple
1985 Stephan's Odyssey Woody Stephens Laffit Pincay Jr.
1984 Carr de Naskra Richard J. Lundy Eddie Maple
1983 A Phenomenon Angel Penna Jr. Angel Cordero Jr.
1982 Conquistador Cielo Woody Stephens Eddie Maple
1981 Willow Hour James E. Picou Eddie Maple
1980 Plugged Nickle Thomas J. Kelly Jeffrey Fell
1979 Private Account Angel Penna Jeffrey Fell
1978 Affirmed Lazaro S. Barrera Steve Cauthen
1977 Music of Time MacK. Miller Michael Venezia
1976 Father Hogan William F. Schmitt Michael Venezia
1975 Forceten Neil D. Drysdale Donald Pierce
1974 Sea Songster John P. Campo Angel Cordero Jr.
1973 Cheriepe W. Preston King Eddie Belmonte
1972 Tentam MacK. Miller Jorge Velasquez
1971 Brazen Brother Warren A. Croll Jr. Michael Hole
1970 Personality John W. Jacobs Laffit Pincay Jr.
1969 Arts And Letters Elliott Burch Braulio Baeza
1968 Captain's Gig Woody Stephens Manuel Ycaza
1967 Gala Performance Willard C. Freeman Eddie Belmonte
1966 Indulto Max Hirsch John L. Rotz
1965 Cornish Prince Sylvester E. Veitch Ron Turcotte
1964 Malicious John Gaver John L. Rotz