The 2017 Jim Dandy Stkaes, a nice race in itself, but better known as a prep for The Travers Stakes, drew a small but select field of five.
We have Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming, trained by Todd Pletcher, facing Preakness winner Cloud Computing from Chad Brown’s barn. Cloud Computing passed on The Derby to await The Preakness which he won.
Pavel comes in for Doug O’Neill off a maiden breaker only, but is highly regarded by his connections and Doug told me in an interview he is not coming for the heck of it. They feel they have a very nice horse with a real shot. Doug is one of those guys it is very dangerous to underestimate in big races. Kind of like Dale Romans.
Bill Mott, known to make a clever move or two with his horses runs Good Samaritan on the dirt after some wide and pace less turf runs. Giuseppe The Great who looks a cut below rounds out the field for Nick Zito.
While we may have a small field it certainly doesn’t lack talent. Of the two classic winners I think I have to give the edge to Cloud Computing. Yes there is a slight bias as I wrote in this very section back in April by mid year he would be one of if not the top three year old. So far he hasn’t exactly proven me wrong. To the contrary, he’s validated the statement and can do so further with a win Saturday. He looks to me like a horse still improving and developing.
Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming rode perfect trips in The Florida Derby and The Run For The Roses to stardom, and may get a good trip again Saturday in a stalking position and getting the jump on Cloud Computing.
It will be interesting to see how good Pavel is and how far he can go, but if he is as good as Doug O’Neill thinks, he’s dangerous as speed always is. If things get hot early, and Good Samaritan can handle dirt at this level, he has been sitting on a big race and has gotten less than ideal trips and set ups so things could get interesting.
Small field, I’m looking forward to the 2017 Jim Dandy Stakes regardless.