The Jim Dandy on Saturday at Saratoga Springs in upstate New York and the Haskell Invitation on Sunday at Monmouth Park in Oceanside, N.J. start the second season for the 3-year-old crop. The fields include some of the colts who were on the early Kentucky Derby trail and later starters that hope to make names for themselves as the year continues.
I’m going to take a different view of the Jim Dandy this year because it only drew five colts. Two of them are Always Dreaming, winner of the Kentucky Derby, and Cloud Computing, winner of the Preakness. Neither one has run since May 20. I’m not handicapping this race because there is very little point to it. But I will suggest that it be used as part of your multi-race wagering, i.e. Pick 3s, 4s and 6s.
There are three ways to use this leg of the bet. You can punch the “all” button since there are only five colts and depending on your bankroll. You can use the two favorites, Always Dreaming and Cloud Computing and use it as a “free square,” or you can take a chance and toss the top two and play the other three colts. Remember, this is Saratoga and it is the “graveyard of champions.”
The one interesting colt in the race is Pavel (post 4) with one lifetime start and he gets a six-pound weight break on the top two. And 6-1 is better than even money or 6-5. There is little money to be made on this one race.
Sunday at Monmouth may not be a much better betting race but it could be a more exciting one. Monmouth is known as a speed-favoring track and there are three speed horses in the race. Irish War Cry (post 1), Battle of Midway (2) and Timeline (3) all are together and if they are going to go they know exactly where the others are. Practical Joke (4) is the stalker and there are three closers; McCraken (5), Hence (6) and Girvin (7).
I’m going to bet on that speed duel developing and look for a closer and my choice is McCraken who is the fourth choice on the morning line. After a good start to his 3-year-old season he developed some foot issues. He came back off a layoff to finish third in the Blue Grass at Keeneland, then got kicked around in the Kentucky Derby and finished eighth. He took a little time off and came back to win the Matt Winn on June 17 at Churchill Downs.
Timeline may be the horse to catch in the Haskell and he’s proven over the track. Let’s see what happens.
Cover Photo: McCraken; Coady Photgraphy