Applebee: Closer Look – Jim Dandy and Vanderbilt / Saratoga 7.29.23
Happy Jim Dandy Day!
For the fifth year in a row a different horse won each leg of the Triple Crown and we arrive at the Jim Dandy with the three year old division totally wide open. Mage, National Treasure and Arcangelo each one a leg of the Triple Crown trail and then Geaux Rocket Ride upset the field in the Haskell. Given those results Forte probably retains a tentative hold on the division lead from his performances earlier this year – but much will be determined today and in the Travers.
Trivia Question – who was the last horse to win more than one leg of the Triple Crown? The answer is below.
Race 8 – The Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap – Grade I
Six Furlongs on the Dirt, Handicap For Three Year Olds and Upward
- Gun It: Stalker type won an N3X last out at Belmont where he sat off the pace and drove past the field in the stretch (97 Beyer). That was the first win in thirteen starts dating back to last summer. Has attempted stakes company a half dozen other times in route races – but to little effect. Hard to ignore anything Linda Rice puts on the track this point but there is a lot of speed to her outside that he will have to contend with. Lasix comes OFF. Possible piece.
- Synthesis: Battle tested seven year old is entered here by owner/trainer David Jacobson off a good second in the John Nerud Stakes (92 Beyer). Stalker type should sit mid-pack and look for a speed duel up front. A half step below these. Passing.
- Awesome Aaron: Makes a big jump in class today from a N2X at Ellis to a Grade I . Should be sent as he performs best up on the pace. Hasn’t won since a $40k claimer last Fall and would need to get much faster to contend. Lasix comes OFF. Know him early.
- Elite Power: Didn’t break his maiden for Mott until June of his four year old year but since then he has reeled off seven in a row including the Vosburgh, the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (100 Beyer) and most recently the True North (102 Beyer). Handily defeated Gunite two back in Saudi Arabia. Stalker type who knows how to pounce. Should sit a trip behind the speed and come running mid-stretch. The Pick.
- Gunite: Eight time winner loves Saratoga as he has won the both the Hopeful and the Amsterdam. Pace Presser. Came back stateside this Spring after two decent races in the Middle East last winter and won the Aristides Stakes at Churchill where he ground down the leader (108 Beyer). Proven on a sloppy track if we get rain. Dangerous. Win candidate.
- Dean Delivers: Ships in from South Florida where he won his last two races. Five for five in the exacta at today’s distance. Last out in the Smile Sprint where he was hustled to the front and ran them off their feet with quick early fractions (100 Beyer). All but one of his starts has been at Gulfstream. Outside post should help with a clean trip. Gets a slice.
- Little Vic: Last out in the John Nerud Stakes he pressed the early pace and took over on the turn but was swamped in the stretch (87 Beyer). This is his preferred distance with four or his five career wins coming at six furlongs. Off track moves this one forward as two of those wins were on a wet strip. Part of the early pace. Looking elsewhere.
Race 10 – The Jim Dandy – Grade II
One Mile and One Furlong on the Dirt for Three Year Olds
This is a surprisingly small group of five for the local Travers prep. But we have three Brad Cox trainees, an Asmussen horse, and a Pletcher runner all of whom are competitive. NYRA morning line maker David Aragona has Disarm and Hit Show both at 6-1 as the longest shots on the board.
- Disarm: Qualified for the Derby with a second in the Louisiana Derby and a third in the Lexington. She outran her odds in the Derby finishing a good fourth (100 Beyer). Went to Ellis Park off that performance and won the Grade III Matt Winn on a sloppy surface with a stalking ground saving trip (102 Beyer). Mid-pack type who can get a piece.
- Forte: Won the Florida Derby and then missed the first two legs of the Triple Crown due to a foot bruise. Came off a ten week layoff in the Belmont Stakes and was ran well in the lane to get up for second (100 Beyer). Most accomplished horse in the field. Blinkers go ON as Pletcher indicated he felt Forte was becoming “complacent” and wanted better focus. Has only one race in four months. Likes to have a target to run down and he should get it in the form of Saudi Crown. Has won over this surface in a sloppy Hopeful last year. Most likely winner.
- Hit Show: Dead heated for fourth with Angel of Empire in the Belmont (99 Beyer) where he ran in the second flight and made a move on the far turn but then couldn’t keep with Arcangelo in the stretch. Ran a decent fifth in the Derby (98 Beyer) where he was in the stalked the leaders and was a bit empty in the final sixteenth. He’s a fighter who doesn’t give in and shows steady improvement with each start. Grinder type.
- Saudi Crown: Lightly raced Brad Cox trainee won his first two races and then took on stakes company in the Dwyer going the flat mile at Belmont. He broke alertly and battled Fort Bragg the entire length of the stretch and only lost by a nose (106 Beyer) after setting a blistering pace. Stretches to two turns but has shown stamina already in a testing one turn mile where he was under pressure the whole way. Has plenty of upside and should be loose on the lead. The Pick.
- Angel Of Empire: Dead heated with Hit Show for fourth in the Belmont where he had an outside trip but kept on running all the way (99 Beyer). That race followed a good performance in the Derby where he was the post time favorite and he showed a good finishing kick to hit the board (104 Beyer). Versatile type who turns back to his best distance. Live runner.
Trivia Question Answer – Justify won the Triple Crown in 2018 and was the last horse to win more than one leg of the Triple Crown.