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A small but talented field goes to the gate on Saturday for the 1 1/8 mile (G2) Jim Dandy Stakes where pace is going to be the most important factor.
On the surface, the Jim Dandy looks to be set up as a race between a pair of horses that want to be near the early lead in Destin (2-1) and Mohaymen (9-5) versus a pair of closers in Belmont winner Creator (3-1) and Governor Malibu (9-2) who finished fourth in the Belmont. Destin ran a fantastic Belmont, in that he had to contend with staying in striking distance of a horse sent to the race solely to ensure a fast pace, and then try to hold on down the lane. He missed by the smallest of margins, but a repeat performance and the cut back in distance should make him the one to beat.
The task won't be much easier, however, as he'll have to contend with Loaban (20-1) who most likely will want to try and steal it on the front end, while at the same time being pressured by Mohaymen, whose best races have come when he can sit just off the pace. The betting here is that Destin is much the better horse, and shoud be able to handle the adversity.
As for Creator, even without a designated rabbit in the field, he may just get exactly the setup he wants with fast enough fractions early to give him something to run at. But the Saratoga stretch is not the Belmont stretch, and 3/8 of a mile less track could add up to just too little to work with. Governor Malibu is intriguing. He ran very well to finish second in the (G2) Peter Pan prior to the Belmont, and then never got a fair shake in that one, having to check twice. If he can make a forward move, he doesn't need to be as far out of it early as Creator, and could very well have something to say by the end.
The Jim Dandy Stakes goes Saturday, July 30 from Saratoga. Post time is 6:18 PM Eastern.
OTB NY Picks
1) #4 Destin
2) #5 Governor Malibu
3) #1 Creator
4) #3 Mohaymen
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