The field for this weekend’s Jim Dandy Stakes is one of the most intriguing of the year. It mostly resembles a field of redemption for horses that are still trying to prove what they’re worth, and you’ll recognize a lot of those names from the derby trail. One of those features is none other than Mohaymen.
You might remember the popular Kiaran McLachlin trainee after he thundered to the front of the three-year old class in February, posting as the Kentucky Derby favorite. But the late bloomer had been ground through a gauntlet of seven races in just nine months. At times, he was running high grade stakes races every four or five weeks. That’s how good he is…or at least was.
Heading in to the Jim Dandy, Mohaymen has as much to prove as the rest of the field. He trailed to 4th in a heated showdown at the Florida Derby with Nyquist who was supposed to be his archrival, but he seemed disinterested in challenging that race. He repeated the same result at the Kentucky Derby as the fourth choice in a better effort, but the wear and tear on his performance was apparent. That’s why the Jim Dandy is such a pivotal point in his career.
As a son of Tapit out of Justwhistledixie, nobody can question Mohaymen’s pure talent. Leading up to the Kentucky Derby I openly wondered if he had simply run too many races in too little time. He has won over $952,850 in his career and will push over the million dollar mark if he podiums at the $600,000 Jim Dandy Stakes but there are doubters lingering out there. This is still a “what have you done for me lately sport”.
I wouldn’t count Mohaymen out. The good news is that it’s been almost three months since he last competed and he’s beaten every horse in this race. The bad news is that every horse in this race has also made stark improvements where Mohaymen has vanished to the wayside in order to rest and recover.
Headlining the field will be Destin and Creator, who finished as the top-two horses at the Belmont Stakes. Both have top-end closing speed and Destin is as consistent as they come. Creator has three wins in his back pocket, but he also hasn’t posted back-to-back wins in his entire career.
Joining them will be Laoban, who was last out at the Dwyer where he crumbled to 5th place. He also placed 6th at the Preakness Stakes and has never won a race. I doubt that the Jim Dandy represents that opportunity for him. Also in the mix is Governor Malibu, a 4th place finisher at the Belmont Stakes as a new shooter.
The most intriguing entry out of the six expected competitors is Race Me Home who came 2nd at the Easy Goer and promises to be a threat simply by virtue of his unknown station. He posted a blistering 1:40.68 time in that 1 1/16th mile race.
For me, the horse to watch and wager on is Mohaymen. Outside of him I prefer Destin simply because he has always finished welll. In seven starts he is 3-2-0 with $670,700 in earnings. The third option is either Creator or Race Me Home and that option I’ll leave up to you.
Jim Dandy Stakes – Saturday, July 30th at 6:18pm EST (Saratoga)
1 1/8th miles, 3 year olds, $600,000
|1||Creator (KY)||Irad Ortiz, Jr.||123||Steven M. Asmussen||–|
|2||Laoban (KY)||Jose L. Ortiz||117||Eric J. Guillot||–|
|3||Mohaymen (KY)||Junior Alvarado||121||Kiaran P. McLaughlin||–|
|4||Destin (KY)||Javier Castellano||121||Todd A. Pletcher||–|
|5||Governor Malibu (NY)||Joel Rosario||117||Christophe Clement||–|
|6||Race Me Home (IRE)||Luis Saez||117||Dale L. Romans||–|