7/29/2017-Saratoga Race Course
Race 10—The Jim Dandy—Grade II
1 & 1/8th Miles on Dirt For Three-Year-Olds
Analysis by Michael Patricks
A Saturday in late July means great racing spans across the country with both Saratoga and Del Mar each offering deep fields and terrific multi-race pools to keep horseplayers’ palates appropriately satiated. 98 horses are entered on Saratoga’s 11-race program, averaging 8.9 runners a race—102 horses are entered at Del Mar on their 10-race program, averaging 10.2 runners a race. Since many racing secretaries are typically forced to try and milk blood from a stone to comprise their racing program, let’s all rejoice in the simple fact that both these cards are extremely playable and potentially quite profitable.
Racing begins at the Sonoma County Fair this Thursday, August 3rd. Post time will be 1:15 p.m. daily with the exception of Friday, August 4th and 11th with post time set for 2:15 p.m. I’ll be hosting the Daily Handicapping Seminars sponsored by Airport Express with Dennis Miller each racing day beginning at 11:30 a.m. (12:30 p.m. on Fridays). Tell your friends and make plans to join us for a memorable summer of wine country racing at the Sonoma County Fair. Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming and Preakness Stakes-victor Cloud Computing will line up side-by-side in the starting gate this Saturday in the Jim Dandy, the final prep for the Travers Stakes to be run on Saturday, August 26th at Saratoga. A quintet is buckled up to do battle, so let’s meet the field:
1-Always Dreaming 1/1 ML—He was my profound selection in the Preakness Stakes at 6/5 and hastily backed up the truck with the sound of “beep beep beep” before reaching the quarter pole. Classic Empire stuck to him like Elmer’s glue and made life miserable for him on the two week bounce back, eventually succumbing to Cloud Computing in the shadow of the wire. If Pavel is hell bent for leather on getting to the front end then Always Dreaming may try to stalk and pounce, noting that in the Florida Derby and Kentucky Derby those tactics were quite successful. His lifetime number came in the Louisville slop and you have to wonder if he’s fully cranked with the Travers just four weeks away. Expect Always Dreaming to reel in Pavel but he’ll have to get the jump on Cloud Computing to get the candy in the Dandy; tricky read on the favorite, especially given the fact he just gave his backers a chalk bath for the ages; obvious contender though, all things considered.
2-Cloud Computing 6/5 ML– Thirteen to one last time with a dream setup and now 6/5 in the Jim Dandy without the pace pressing Classic Empire in here to do his dirty work. Having said that, there is the ever-impressive Chad Brown off a layoff precedent to factor in which means Cloud Computing is probably fully cranked to do damage once again. Obviously he will hope that Always Dreaming has no patience for Pavel and will look to follow the former when he heads into the woods, dreaming of rabbit stew. One glance at his past performances shows clearly that he is reliant on pace pressure, so anytime a horse is a dependent on others for his survival, you have to wonder if he can ascend to the top of the food chain given the circumstances, and at a price likes 6/5, that’s very difficult to digest; proven commodity will be rolling through the lane.
3-Giuseppe the Great 10/1 ML-Sheds the hood and actually looks like an intriguing alternative, especially if the early speed is this race is a bit breakneck. By Lookin at Lucky, the nine panels should be right in his wheel house and deep diving into his past performances you can quickly see he’s never run a bad race in five starts. The Grade II debut was a good effort at seven furlongs while toting a huge number and his follow up last time in the one-turn Dwyer was ho-hum, yet he suffered a wide trip in a five-horse field with a soft tempo and couldn’t quicken with the more accomplished Practical Joke (5th in the Kentucky Derby). This is his two-turn debut and maybe he’ll appreciate the added ground and relax a bit more, able to deliver a more sustained push through the stretch. He’s got a puncher’s chance…or at least a much better chance than McGregor does against Mayweather; don’t dismiss.
4-Pavel 6/1 ML– He’s got one way to go and that’s to take them as far as he can—and for as long as he can. Nice maiden score against open company in his unveiling and he came home like a good thing while paying $16.80. Team Irap is represented here with another up and coming sophomore but this is a lot to ask in start number two. Pavel must ship across the country, stretch out to two turns, face winners (including the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winners) and meet graded-stakes runners in the process. Doug O’Neill wouldn’t lob him in just to make the race “go” so he must think he’s got a nice horse here. Love the confident entry and placement, but if you missed 7/1 on him beaing Little Juanito and Zap Again, how do you take less than that across the country against Always Dreaming and Cloud Computing? Can he win? It’s possible. Is it likely? Need more than 6/1 if I’m going to bite at this line; catch and release.
5-Good Samaritan 12/1 ML– Connections may have landed here because they are quite simply sick and tired of following Oscar Performance around the track. He’s done all his damage on sod and has been bet like he’s something every start. He’s by Harlan’s Holiday (favored in 2002 Kentucky Derby) and out of a Pulpit mare (well supported in 1997 Kentucky Derby) so taking to the dirt should not be an issue. Bill Mott moved Cigar from turf to dirt and we all know what happened there. And while the past may not necessarily be prologue as to how the script will play out on Saturday, you’d have to think this horse rates a look at a price if he takes to the dirt the way his pedigree suggests he should. He’s not a lead pipe cinch or a “900 number gold star lock” by any means, but in terms of blind stabs in the dark I wouldn’t fault you at all if you decided to kick the tires on him since the price will be right; best chance play.