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Jul 30, 2010

Jim Dandy Stakes up for grabs Saturday


Saratoga Springs, NY (Sports Network) - Saturday's $500,000 Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga Race Course has attracted an evenly matched field of nine three- year-olds. The 1 1/8-mile contest is the local prep for the $1 million Travers on Saturday, August 28.

Heading the field is Belmont Stakes runner-up Fly Down. The chestnut colt, trained by Nick Zito, will be making his first start since the Belmont and will start from the far outside post with Jose Lezcano aboard.

"He's coming off a 1 1/2-mile race," Zito said Monday. "Obviously, we know his fitness level. We're hoping he's a little sharp for the race. He's a very good horse. He looks good."

Owned by Richard Pell, Fly Down has won two of four starts this year, including the Dwyer Stakes at Belmont Park on May 8. In his career the colt has won three of six starts and $382,070.

Another Zito entrant is Miner's Reserve. The lightly raced colt will be ridden by Calvin Borel from post six.

Trainer Todd Pletcher will be represented in the race by Aikenite, owned by Dogwood Stable. The colt will start from post four with David Cohen riding.

Aikenite notched his first win of the year in an allowance race at Belmont Park on June 19. In his six races of 2010 he has one win, one second and one third-place finish for $109,606. His best stakes results were a third to Eskendereya in the Fountain of Youth in February and a second in the Derby Trial to Hurricane Ike on April 24.

"As a younger horse, he wasn't a particularly ambitious work horse, and to me, he's gotten more aggressive," said Pletcher. "We're still trying to find his best distance. This will be a race that determines what he's going to do down the road.

"He did very well at a one-turn mile; whether that's going to translate into a top-class mile and an eighth effort, that's what we're getting ready to find out."

Former Kentucky Derby contender Winslow Homer continues his comeback from an early injury. The Fox Hill Farm colt will break from post seven with Ramon Dominguez in the saddle.

Trained by Tony Dutrow, Winslow Homer suffered a small stress fracture in his cannon bone after winning the Holy Bull Stakes in January at Gulfstream Park. He did not race until last month's Iowa Derby when he finished third to Concord Point.

The gray colt has earned $177,825 in five career starts with three wins and a pair of thirds.

Dutrow also has Louisiana Derby runner-up A Little Warm entered. The colt will be ridden by John Velazquez from post five.

Here is the full field for the Jim Dandy in post position order: Steinbeck, Garrett Gomez; Afleet Express, Javier Castellano; Stormy's Majesty, Edgar Prado; Aikenite, David Cohen; A Little Warm, John Velazquez; Miner's Reserve, Calvin Borel; Winslow Homer, Ramon Dominguez; Friend Or Foe, Rajiv Maragh and Fly Down, Jose Lezcano.

Post-time for the Jim Dandy will 5:50 p.m. (et).

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