SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Trainer Chad Brown said both Zandon and Early Voting emerged from their respective second and fourth-place finishes in the Grade 2, $600,000 Jim Dandy in good order and remain possible for the Grade 1, $1.25 million Runhappy Travers on August 27 at Saratoga Race Course.
Saturday’s four-horse Jim Dandy saw Early Voting, exiting a Grade 1 Preakness victory, set a moderate tempo up front with stablemate Zandon 1 1/2 lengths back in second. Early Voting was under a drive from Jose Ortiz in upper stretch with Zandon rallying to his outside. But neither runner was able to stave off the turn of foot from Epicenter, who won by 1 1/2 lengths under Joel Rosario.
“They both came out of the race fine,” Brown said. “Everything looks good and I’m going to ease them back into training the next couple of days and take it from there.”
Jeff Drown’s Zandon entered the Jim Dandy off a third-place finish in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby, finishing 1 1/2 lengths in arrears of Rich Strike and Epicenter, who ran second as the favorite.
Never off the board in six lifetime starts, Zandon captured the Grade 1 Blue Grass at Keeneland four weeks before the Derby. Brown said the son of third crop sire Upstart would benefit from a late-closing running style in a larger field of horses.
“I prefer him a little bit farther back, but I don’t want to make any excuses,” Brown said. “He was ahead of Epicenter and had every chance to kick on and go, but Epicenter was able to overtake him and win the race impressively. With Zandon, hopefully he gets something off his 12-week layoff. Hopefully, he got something out of that to improve. He’s going to need to, going on to the next one.”
Brown offered no excuses for Early Voting, who finished last-of-4 beaten 3 3/4 lengths.
“He didn’t show up yesterday and Epicenter ran an outstanding race,” Brown said. “I just have to regroup with him and go from there. I don’t want to complain about the track. The day before I had a wonderful winner [Artorius] in the Curlin. Some horses are maybe going to be OK on it and others not.”
Brown could have as many as three horses in the Runhappy Travers with Zandon and Early Voting, and Juddmonte’s aforementioned Artorius also under consideration.
NYRA Press Office
Photo: Zandon earlier this year, prepping for the 2022 Kentucky Derby (Coady Photography)