A Jim Dandy Of A Graded Stakes Weekend

Saudi Crown | Sarah Andrew


Equine or human, history is always about the six degrees of someone in racing's world. For instance, at 100-1 Jim Dandy beat Triple Crown champion Gallant Fox in the 1930 edition of the Travers S., which only featured four entries total.

The horse who set up the longshot by engaging in a speed duel with the favorite over the mud was Whichone, a colt owned by Harry Payne Whitney (yes, that important family). And what other Thoroughbred did Whitney own? Well, that would be Upset, who did just that, when he handed the great Man o' War his only career loss. And that is a minor example of a nexus.

As part of the Saratoga weekend card, it seems fitting that Saturday's GII Jim Dandy S. is the main prep for next month's GI Travers S. Horse racing, like life, always reflects irony of some type.

In this year's edition, Saudi Crown (Always Dreaming) isn't going to be 100-1. However, compared to the experience of GIII Matt Winn S. victor and 'TDN Rising Star' Disarm (Gun Runner), Eclipse champion 2-year-old and 'TDN Rising Star' Forte (Violence), who will be wearing first-time blinkers, Hit Show (Candy Ride {Arg}), winner of the GIII Withers S. and second in the GII Wood Memorial S., and GI Arkansas Derby star and GI Kentucky Derby third Angel of Empire (Classic Empire), the 3-year-old colt has something to prove after running second last time out in the GIII Dwyer S. July 1 at Belmont Park. The Brad Cox trainee passed the eye test in his debut at Keeneland in April and against allowance company May 21 at Churchill Downs.

Not to be missed on the Saratoga Saturday card is another race with historical connections in spades. This year's GI Alfred G. Vanderbilt H. will feature a rematch from February's G3 Riyadh Dirt Sprint in Saudi Arabia in which the reigning Eclipse champion dirt sprinter and GISW Elite Power (Curlin) stepped away as GISW Gunite (Gun Runner) gave chase for second. The $900,000 Keeneland September buy built on that win with another impressive display in the GII True North S.

Elite Power | Sarah Andrew

Elite Power worked a half mile alone in :51.22 Sunday over the Oklahoma training track in a breeze that Mott indicated was similar to the chestnut's half-mile work in :51.11 on Oct. 28 over the same surface ahead of his Breeders' Cup victory. “That's him by himself,” Mott said. “He's run well off of those kind of works right before his races. He did that in Saudi. He was working :51 before he won the Breeders' Cup. He wouldn't wow anyone when he's working by himself.”

Looking elsewhere on Saturday in North America, Monmouth Park will card its own Oaks. The Grade III includes Promiseher America (American Pharoah) from Ray Handal's stable and Occult (Into Mischief), who was last seen running third to MGISW Pretty Mischievous (Into Mischief) in the GI Acorn S. on the Belmont S. undercard.

In the wake of cancellations due to heat the past couple of days, Woodbine Racetrack will hope to run the GII Seagram Cup for 3-year-olds and up. Tyson (Tapit) will garner much attention since the 4-year-old gray colt won the GIII Dominion Day S. last time out for trainer Josie Carroll.

Del Mar Thoroughbred Club will have plenty of action to contribute as their program includes the GII San Diego H. and the GI Bing Crosby S., which offers a Breeders' Cup 'Win and You're In' voucher for the GI BC Qatar Racing Sprint.

Both Del Mar races sport field sizes of 10-plus. The San Diego includes MGISW Defunded (Dialed In), who won Santa Anita's GI Gold Cup May 29 and will carry the most weight here at 125. With 12 hopefuls entered for the Bing Crosby, Anarchist (Distorted Humor) returns to California after running second to Elite Power in the GII True North S. The 4-year-old colt will face some veteran runners in G1 Dubai Golden Shaheen hero Sibelius (Not This Time) and MGISW and '21 winner Dr. Schivel (Violence).

Rebel's Romance works at Saratoga | Sarah Andrew

Shifting to Sunday, not to be missed on the stakes slate are a pair of Grade IIs for 3-year-olds and up over the turf. Saratoga's Bowling Green S. has enticed GI Breeders' Cup Turf conqueror Rebel's Romance (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) for trainer Charlie Appleby. Last seen running a well-beaten seventh in the G1 Dubai Sheema Classic in March, the 5-year-old gelding will look to get his second half of his season off on the right foot.

“He's a well-traveled horse; Germany, Keeneland, England and Dubai,” said Appleby's traveling assistant Chris Connett. “He's traveled this trip pretty well and he's settled in good shape. He's a typical Dubawi, he's got better with age. He's a big horse that's really grown into his frame. Hopefully, we'll get to see him at his best on Sunday.”

Count Again | Horsephotos

Meanwhile the Eddie Read S. at Del Mar includes four entries from Phil D'Amato's shedrow, including MGISW Count Again (Awesome Again), winner last time out of the GI Shoemaker Mile S. May 30 at Santa Anita Park, and MGSW Balnikov (Ire) (Adaay {Ire}), who is looking to bounce back after finishing eighth in that same race. The competitive Leo Powell trainee and MGSW Dicey Mo Chara (GB) (Adaay {Ire}) goes out for a barn that won last weekend's GII San Clemente S. The 5-year-old gelding's last start yielded a finished third-place finish at Santa Anita May 13 in the GIII San Luis Rey S.

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