Belmont Stakes runner-up Fly Down drew widest of the nine in the deep, $500,000 G2 Jim Dandy at Saratoga this Saturday. The Nick Zito pupil has really come to hand as of late, including a romp in the G2 Dwyer Stakes two back which preceded his fine Belmont try. The peaking son of Mineshaft sizzled a bullet half-mile in advance of this and could be the one to beat with pilot Jose Lezcano.
G3 Holy Bull Stakes victor Winslow Homer was a flat third in the G2 Iowa Derby last out but surely needed that one for conditioner Tony Dutrow. The gray son of Unbridled’s Song was a facile maiden winner here and has trained well in readying for this test. Unbeaten Empire State-bred Friend or Foe, G2 Louisiana Derby runner-up A Little Warm, Grade 1-placed Aikenite, G3 Pegasus Stakes star Afleet Express, and perhaps the most intriguing horse in the field, Euro import Steinbeck, all deserve some respect here.
The G1 $500,000 Diana Stakes drew a sublime field of seven, including two-time defending champ Forever Together. Trained by Jonathan Sheppard, the ever-consistent daughter of Belong to Me hasn’t visited the winners’ circle since bagging this event last summer, but she hasn’t finished worse than third in five starts since, either. The gray might even offer some value in this other worldly affair with Julien Leparoux up.
Proviso has stormed to a pair of Grade 1 wins in succession and is at the top of her game for conditioner Bill Mott. The Juddmonte homebred drew the rail with Mike Smith. G1 Just A Game S.takes runner-up Phola has soared to new heights this campaign and should be flying home late for Todd Pletcher. The daughter of Johannesburg worked a strong half-mile leading into this. G3 Beaugay Stakes romper Dynaslew, Just A Game third My Princess Jess, recent G3 All Along Stakes queen Shared Account and multiple stakes heroine Maram, who is prefect from two starts locally, completes the order of the field.
The Sunday headliner at Saratoga is the G1 $250,000 Ruffian Invitational Stakes.