The Jim Dandy Stakes headlines the horse racing action from Saratoga this Saturday and there are some stellar types lining up.
Horse racing odds have Early Voting and Epicenter favored to win, but the likes of Zandon and Tawny Port could produce the minor upset.
We’re excited for the $600,000 Grade II feature, which sets the action alight in New York.
Favorite Coming on Since Preakness
The Chad Brown-trained Early Voting hasn’t raced since winning the Preakness Stakes and by all accounts, he’s traveling nicely according to Brown.
“He’s breezed super for the Jim Dandy,” Brown told BloodHorse. “He’s developed nicely since the Preakness.”
He has settled in well at Saratoga and that’s a good sign ahead of the Jim Dandy Stakes. He has suffered only one defeat throughout his four-start career, which came in the Wood Memorial behind the well-performed Mo Donegal.
The son of Gun Runner has been kept under wraps since his Preakness Stakes win and horse racing odds give him every chance to win. We expect him to be fighting out the finish and he could mature into one of the better 3-year-old runners.
Epicenter to Turn Tables
Despite earning over $1.9 million throughout his eight-start career, Epicenter has yet to win a Grade I contest.
The slick son of Not This Time finished second behind Rich Strike in the Kentucky Derby before placing behind Early Voting in the Preakness Stakes and he’s looking to turn the tables on the Jim Dandy Stakes favorite.
Winchell Thoroughbreds racing manager David Fiske believes it’s a travesty that he hasn’t won a major race.
“It demonstrates the cruelty of the racing gods that Epicenter is not a grade 1 winner yet,” Fiske said.
The small field makes for interesting racing and it could become a match-race between Epicenter and Early Voting.
“In a small field, it takes on some of the characteristics of a match race. It’s a rider’s race and the chips are going to fall where they may. Hopefully, we can get a clean run,” Fiske added.
“Everyone is neck and neck. It’s chaos, though Epicenter is doing great. He’s like he’s always been. No one sees any difference in him between the spring and now. He’s the same guy.”
We expect money to come for him with Jim Dandy Stakes odds. He could close as the favorite as bettors expect him to score a breakthrough Grade I win.
Zandon the Forgotten Horse?
Brown also lines up Zandon, who is good enough to upset his stablemate and Epicenter.
The son of Upstart won the Grade I Blue Grass Stakes before placing in the Kentucky Derby, so his form lines stack up beautifully for the Jim Dandy Stakes.
He won on debut at Belmont Stakes before finishing second behind Mo Donegal in the Remsen Stakes before placing behind Epicenter in the Risen Star.
He needs to turn and find a length to beat the favorites but he’s a Grade I winner and that counts for plenty.
“He’s a pretty consistent horse and time has really done this horse well since the Derby,” Brown said. “We did the right thing for him. I love the way he’s training. He’s put some weight on and I expect him to run well Saturday.”
The Jim Dandy Stakes could be a three-horse battle down the Saratoga straight and Zandon is likely to be in the mix.