“Trainer intent” is a basic handicapping tenet. You want your money down when your trainer’s money is down, or on a day he’s seeking a huge, prestigious purse.
When a handicapper applies this maxim with respect to Saturday’s $600,000 Grade 2 Jim Dandy, he or she must ask themselves something about the two likely ante post favorites:
Who wants it more: Mark Casse or Bill Mott? Secondly, who needs it more?
HRI regulars know that we bet Game Winner to win the Kentucky Derby and had a winter book bet on War of Will. They were the three-year-olds that we thought were, or would be, the best of their generation.
As to which horse that is, no one knows. The Derby preps were won seemingly by a different horse every other week and, of course, three different horses finished first in the Triple Crown events.
After the Haskell Invitational, however, Maximum Security became the division’s protem leader as a result of his hard earned, gritty, and strongly run victory in the Grade 1 by the sea. He has earned that respect.
The Travers, having its 150th anniversary this year, is the three-year-old Race of the Year, sans Omaha Beach, would wouldn’t be ready to run even if trainer Richard Mandella wanted to take his shot, which clearly he did not.
With respect to a rivalry established by the Derby first and the horse he badly impeded at headstretch in Louisville, War of Will, the subsequent Preakness winner, Casse knows that the Eclipse championship goes through Maximum Security. War of Will needs to beat Maximum Security in the Travers.
Making his first start since the Belmont Stakes, our best guess is that Casse is using the Jim Dandy as a bridge to the Travers.
Bill Mott, mostly, is in the same boat with Tacitus. His Tapit colt also is in the hunt for a three-year-old title. Tacitus never fails to fire his best shot, but those tough-trip excellent efforts have resulted in no major victories.
He started the season winning the Tampa Bay Derby and took a two-race win streak into the Derby after following up the Tampa score with a Wood Memorial victory.
But he could not overcome trouble in the Derby nor the wide, rough trip, or overly patient handling he got on Long Island which left him with too much work to do. As the race was run, he probably was the best horse.
More than anything, Tacitus needs to get back to his winning ways, get a shot of confidence before heading into a possible championship-defining Travers. And he gets a couple of pounds in the process. So, what’s the answer?
Outside Post + Small Field = No Excuses