The 2017 Jim Dandy was sold to fans as a showdown between Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming and Preakness Stakes winner Cloud Computing. For the first part of the exciting race, that’s how the whole thing played out with those two champions taking the field out early. What unfolded at Saratoga was completely unexpected.
Always Dreaming went out as the even money favorite and held the early lead, hitting and early quarter-mile fraction of :24.13. Cloud Computing was right on his tail in both the early stages of the 2017 Jim Dandy and the betting board as the 6/5 second choice. Right behind those two was Pavel, an 8/1 outside shot, and Giuseppe The Great who was a distant 14/1 on the board. Way in the back was Good Samaritan, another contender with an 8/1 mark, who seemed to be way outclassed early on.
Suddenly, as they rounded the final corner, the whole field bunched together and Good Samaritan hit a gear nobody knew he had to stream around the outside. The performance seemed to shrink Cloud Computing and Always Dreaming, who fell back right next to Pavel and Giuseppe The Great as the final four ended in a bunch. Good Samaritan won handedly in an absolute shocker.
The 2017 Jim Dandy Stakes was the first appearence on dirt for Good Samaritan, who had previously been tested as a turf runner with unfavorably inconsistent results. “I couldn’t be more pleased with the way he ran,” said trainer Bill Mott. “It was a terrific race for him. The pace was a little bit slower than I thought it would be. I was a little concerned when they were going down the middle of the backside and they hung up the slow fractions. I was a little concerned about that. They did start to pick it up leaving the half-mile pole. He ran into a very slow pace and ran well.”
This victory has now thrust Good Samaritan in to the thick of a very competitive three-year-old class that now includes 2017 Haskell winner Girvin, the three Triple Crown victors and a host of other colts entering the fray on route to the world championships. What Good Samaritan does with this new found momentum will be noted – hopefully – in the upcoming Travers Stakes which will have a stacked field.