HALLANDALE BEACH, FL, July 28-29 – Two important graded stakes on the Spa docket for Saturday – with a 70% chance of a wet track, however.
The first of two stakes, the Grade 1 Alfred G Vanderbilt, has a scheduled post time of 4:26 pm. The Grade 2 Jim Dandy Stakes has a scheduled post of 5:45 pm. Here’s hoping…
The Vanderbilt features Elite Power, America’s top rated sprinter and ranked send overall in the NTRA Thoroughbred Poll.
The Jim Dandy features newly blinkered 2022 juvenile champion Forte vs four rivals—three trained by Brad Cox.
Track condition always matters, of course, but to what extent? Will it be speed-favoring slop, or something a little deeper and stickier?
Assuming a prime effort by all, a look at the six furlong sprint shows that Elite Power has never run on a wet track. By Curlin, from the Vindication mare Broadway’s Alibi, he should handle wet.
Three of the five Jim Dandy horses; Forte, Angel of Empire and Disarm, have all won on sloppy tracks. Hit Show and Saudi Crown have not run in wet footing but both are from grandsires that get wet-track runners.
Elite Power’s seven straight scores has earned him 4-5 favoritism. Gunite’s rapidly won Aristides and wet-track King Cotton win makes him the 8-5 early-line second favorite.
It should be noted these two are next to each other in the stalls and that two speedsters breaking outside of both are 2-for-2 on wet tracks. So there’s that.
The Jim Dandy boasts proven or promising Grade 1 talent. Two, Forte and ‘Angel’ have won at that level, two late developers, Saudi Crown and Disarm are on the make.
Hit Show lost by a bobbed nose in the Wood Memorial after getting buffeted about between horses the final sixteenth of a mile. But wait there’s more…
DAY 13: HRI’s Trip Notes for the Jim Dandy five, listed in post order with early line odds:
DISARM (6-1) restrained showing good speed inside backstretch, tipped out 3-4 path, into top stride up late, driving.
FORTE (7-5) [APR 1, FL Derby, today’s trip] good speed from gate, ridden out 3-4 across first turn, showed speed under restraint 4-5 backside, ridden to rally 4-wide 3/8s, 6-wide into stretch too soon to lead, re-broke, won driving.
HIT SHOW (6-1) [APR 8, Wood Memorial, today’s trip] post 12, ridden out 5x 4x first turn, restrained speed 4-5 wide backstretch behind leaders, good position, head to head between rivals turn, bumped between final sixth, was best
SAUDI CROWN (5-2) ridden to lead soon after start saving ground 2 to 3-path backstretch, pressed hard inside on turn, driving hard inside head-to-head, lost head bob, gamely!
ANGEL OF EMPIRE (5-2) [APR 1, Arkansas Derby, today’s trip] restrained speed 2-3 wide first turn, ridden for position 3-4 wide backstretch behind the leading pack, asked to rally 4-wide midturn, 4-5 wide into lane, clearly best, continued well on gallop out.
The Skinny: Saudi Crown is tempting as lone speed and getting six pounds from both G1 winners. But the lean is to classy Forte who would run over broken glass and loved the improved focus in that half-mile breeze with blinkers, leaving his company willingly on his own. Price, bias final arbiters.
Florida Thunder. Canadian Thunder. Now… New York Thunder!
Can’t say we didn’t provide a heads-up. Don’t get me wrong, thought Drew’s Gold looked best on paper and New York Thunder needed to be taken on faith–and belief in workouts, such as his last at Monmouth Park, the fastest work of 105 three year olds to work the week of July 21.
And the faith Jorge Delgado showed. To win over two disparate All-Weather surfaces, and on turf, and to win them all, wow! Talk about confidence; shipping to Saratoga to make a dirt debut in a Grade 2, the Amsterdam with its roll call of sudden speed. Good job all around. Love good horsemanship.