WinStar Farm, Head of Plains Partners, China Horse Club, and SF Racing Group's Good Samaritan upset both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winners in Saturday's Grade 2 Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga, flying from last-to-first in the stretch to win by 4 3/4 lengths. The sophomore son of Harlan's Holiday, who had never raced on the dirt prior to the Jim Dandy, covered 1 1/8 miles over the fast main track in 1:50.69. Ridden by Joel Rosario, the colt gave trainer Bill Mott a birthday victory.
It was very tight between the other four contestants: Giuseppe the Great finished second for trainer Nick Zito, while Always Dreaming checked in third less than a neck behind. Pavel was another neck back in fourth, and Cloud Computing finished fifth.
“Elliott Walden [President/CEO of WinStar Farm] had been trying to get me to run him on the dirt ever since the Breeders' Cup last November,” Mott laughed. “We were going to do it earlier in the year and we missed some of the Triple Crown prep races and we decided to wait until after the Belmont Derby. We knew for sure he would run on the grass and we decided to do it after that. He was laid up; he needed a little time. He needed a couple months off and when he came back, it was too late for him to make any of the important prep races. When we were ready to run, we made our first race on Derby day, but obviously it wasn't the Kentucky Derby, we weren't ready for that.”
Always Dreaming broke very sharply at the rail under John Velazquez, who allowed the Kentucky Derby winner to strike out for the early lead heading into the first turn. Preakness winner Cloud Computing tracked from second under Javier Castellano, just a couple lengths behind the leader, while Pavel and Giuseppe the Great moved together in the third position. Rosario and Good Samaritan were last of all early on, watching the movements of the field in front of them.
After a quarter in 24.13 seconds, Always Dreaming continued to pull away from the field to a four-length lead through a half in :48.53. Cloud Computing maintained second and the order of running remained unchanged.
Velazquez tried to give Always Dreaming a breather in the third quarter, allowing the field to approach his colt and giving away his open-length advantage. Cloud Computing moved up to the leader's saddle towel entering the far turn, and at the three-eighths pole the two classic winners were head-and-head locked in battle.
Pavel moved up three wide to challenge the dueling leaders, and Giuseppe the Great made it a four-wide bid for the lead. Rosario waited until his colt straightened into the lane, then angled him out widest of all as the other four were all focused on one another.
“Actually, he does not have a lot of [early] speed, so I just let him be and be where he is happy,” Rosario said. “He wants to always put in one last run. When I passed the three-eighths pole, he gave me a very good feeling. He was getting over the track very nice, so I just kind of tried to save a little ground before turning for home, but he was on his game today.”
Good Samaritan came flying down the center of the track to easily sweep by the other four colts, drawing away in the final sixteenth to win by 4 3/4 lengths. Giuseppe the Great battled on to get his head in front of the four-wide pack to finish second, while the hard-trying Always Dreaming held third at the rail, just a neck behind. Pavel was another neck back in fourth, and Cloud Computing was a short head behind in fifth.
Bred in Kentucky by WinStar, Good Samaritan is out of the multiple stakes placed Pulpit mare Pull Dancer. He won his debut on the turf at Saratoga, then captured the G2 Summer Stakes before finishing third in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. After a six-month break, Good Samaritan returned to run second in both the G2 American Turf and G3 Pennine Ridge, then finished fourth in last month's G1 Belmont Derby. The colt has now won graded stakes on both turf and dirt, and boasts a record of three wins, two seconds and a third from seven starts for earnings of over $750,000.
“You saw him coming through the stretch,” continued Mott. “He looks like he was good enough to get it done today. He looked pretty good. We'll certainly nominate for the Travers and we'll talk about it. I don't see why we wouldn't give it a try.”
Of Always Dreaming, jockey John Velazquez said: “He broke really well, and it went like we were expecting. We got the lead and he [Javier Castellano and Cloud Computing, No. 2] was laying second because that's the types of horses they are. He put in a really good fight down the lane, he just couldn't get away from the other horses for whatever reason.”
Regarding Cloud Computing, Javier Castellano said: “I thought I had a perfect position in the race. I let Always Dreaming [No. 1] dictate the pace, so I was able to let up a little bit and save all the ground and, little by little, go for him. He [Cloud Computing] just didn't fire today.”
“He seemed to struggle with the track today,” added Cloud Computing's trainer Chad Brown. “He just didn't have it, and that's about it. We are just going to have to reevaluate the horse tomorrow and go from there.”
Watch the race replay here:
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