Jim Dandy Stakes draws solid cast

Daily Racing Form Saturday Stakes Preview - - FRONT PAGE - – David Gren­ing – Steve An­der­sen

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – The Jim Dandy Stakes may have lost Preak­ness win­ner Ex­ag­ger­a­tor to Sun­day’s $1 mil­lion Haskell, but it still came up a solid race led by Bel­mont Stakes one-two fin­ish­ers Cre­ator and Destin as well as Mo­hay­men, who makes his first start since fin­ish­ing fourth in the Ken­tucky Derby.

Destin seeks to give trainer Todd Pletcher a sixth vic­tory in the Jim Dandy, which is the lo­cal prep for the Grade 1, $1.25 mil­lion Travers Stakes on Aug. 27.

Destin recorded back-to-back graded stakes vic­to­ries in the Sam F. Davis and Tampa Bay Derby last win­ter, pro­pel­ling him to the Ken­tucky Derby, where he fin­ished sixth, seven lengths be­hind the vic­to­ri­ous Nyquist.

In the Bel­mont Stakes, Destin pressed the pace of Gettsy­burg be­fore mak­ing the lead turn­ing for home un­der Javier Castel­lano. It took a per­fect ride from Irad Or­tiz Jr. on Cre­ator to nail Destin in the fi­nal jump. It was a heart­break­ing loss, to be sure, but one that proved to Pletcher that Destin be­longs with the di­vi­sion’s best.

“He showed his class in the Bel­mont – he showed he be­longs at the top of the di­vi­sion,” Pletcher said. “He’s con­tin­u­ing to im­prove. He’s a horse we al­ways felt like would prob­a­bly be bet­ter in the sum­mer and fall than he was in the spring, Based on the way he’s been breez­ing, we feel like that’s the case.”

Destin, a son of Gi­ant’s Cause­way, will break from post 4 un­der Castel­lano. He fig­ures to lay rel­a­tively close to the pace, which fig­ures to be set by the maiden Laoban, who is mak­ing his sixth con­sec­u­tive start in a graded stakes. Laoban, trained by Eric Guil­lot, will break from post 2 un­der Jose Or­tiz.

“We’d like a tar­get,” Pletcher said. “If we don’t have one, then we’ll take what we have.”

Cre­ator, who ral­lied from the back of the pack to win the Bel­mont, would like to see Laoban and Destin mix it up on the front end. Cre­ator, trained by Steve As­mussen for Win­star Farm, will break from the rail.

Mo­hay­men won his first five races, four of them Grade 2 stakes, in­clud­ing the Holy Bull and Foun­tain of Youth last win­ter at Gulf­stream Park. Af­ter fin­ish­ing fourth as the fa­vorite in the Florida Derby, Mo­hay­men ran a re­spectable fourth in the Ken­tucky Derby.

Im­me­di­ately af­ter the Derby, the con­nec­tions of Mo­hay­men placed their fo­cus on the Travers, and they will use the Jim Dandy as their prep. Ju­nior Al­varado will ride Mo­hay­men from post 3.

Gov­er­nor Mal­ibu, fourth in the Bel­mont Stakes, and Race Me Home, sec­ond in the Easy Goer Stakes at Bel­mont Park, com­plete the Jim Dandy field.

The Jim Dandy is one of four stakes on an 11-race pro­gram that be­gins at 1 p.m. Eastern. Shar­ing the bill with the Jim Dandy is the Grade 1 Al­fred G. Van­der­bilt for older sprint­ers, the Grade 2 Am­s­ter­dam for 3-year-old sprint­ers, and the Grade 2 Bowl­ing Green on turf, fea­tur­ing the mul­ti­ple Grade 1 and Group 1 win­ner Flintshire.

Del Mar: Cle­ment L. Hirsch

DEL MAR, Calif. – Stel­lar Wind, the cham­pion 3-year-old filly of 2015, is not hav­ing an easy time this sum­mer.

Stel­lar Wind made her first start of the year in the Grade 1 Van­ity Mile at Santa Anita on June 4 and fin­ished a game sec­ond to Be­holder, the three­time cham­pion. Be­holder was not fully ex­tended when she won that race by 1 1/2 lengths.

For her sec­ond start of 2016, Stel­lar Wind must face the same ri­val in Satur­day’s $300,000 Cle­ment L. Hirsch Stakes at Del Mar. A win by Stel­lar Wind would be a ma­jor up­set; Be­holder, the cham­pion older fe­male of 2015, has won her last eight starts.

The Grade 1 Hirsch Stakes is run at 1 1/16 miles and is the cham­pi­onship race for older fil­lies and mares at the Del Mar sum­mer meet­ing. The race is part of the Breed­ers’ Cup Win and You’re In pro­gram, of­fer­ing a fees-paid berth to the BC Distaff at Santa Anita on Nov. 4.

Stel­lar Wind is trained by John Sadler for Pete and Kosta Hro­nis. Sadler tried to duck Be­holder in the Hirsch Stakes and travel to Delaware Park for the Delaware Park Hand­i­cap ear­lier this month. Those plans were thwarted by dif­fi­cult travel ar­range­ments.

“We found the travel im­pos­si­ble,” Sadler said. “There was noth­ing I felt good about. We run lo­cally, and here we are.”

Sadler knows that a win by Stel­lar Wind would be a shock and a ca­reer-defin­ing race for his 4-year-old filly. Re­al­is­ti­cally, Sadler con­sid­ers the Hirsch as part of a greater plan to have Stel­lar Wind ready for the BC Distaff.

“It’s the sec­ond race of a cam­paign,” Sadler said. “She hasn’t missed a beat. She’s been very nice.”

The Hirsch will be Stel­lar Wind’s first start at Del Mar since a win in the Grade 3 Tor­rey Pines Stakes for 3-yearold fil­lies last Au­gust. She was later sec­ond in the BC Distaff at Keeneland last Oc­to­ber.

The Hirsch is ex­pected to have a field of five, in­clud­ing Div­ina Co­me­dia, Off the Road, and The Dream.

Div­ina Co­me­dia was last of five in the Van­ity Mile and won the mi­nor South­ern Truce Stakes at Santa Anita on July 3.

Off the Road is trained by Richard Man­della, who also starts Be­holder. Off the Road was a Group 1 win­ner in Brazil in 2014 but is win­less in five starts in the United States.

The Dream, trained by Jerry Hol­len­dor­fer, won two Group 1 races in Chile in 2015 and will make her Amer­i­can de­but in the Hirsch.

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