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Jul 28, 2011

Seven set for Jim Dandy Stakes



Saratoga Springs, NY (Sports Network) - Saturday's $500,000 Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga Race Course has attracted seven three-year-olds for the 1 1/8-mile contest which serves as the local prep for the $1 million Travers on August 27.

Breaking from the far outside post will be Peter Pan Stakes winner Alternation. Owned by Pin Oak Stable, the colt will be ridden by Ramon Dominguez who was aboard for the May 14 victory.

Alternation, trained by Donnie Von Hemel, is the winner of four of six career starts for $215,004. The colt will be making just his third stakes appearance in the Jim Dandy. His first added-money start was in the Arkansas Derby when he was fifth to Archarcharch.

"The fact that we haven't run since May we knew we had to give him a little bit more in the mornings," Von Hemel explained about Alternation. "We backed off after the Peter Pan and let him relax for a couple of weeks. We then got back in business and put some in-company works and some longer distances just to make sure we had everything ready to go."

Blue Grass Stakes champ Brilliant Speed has drawn post three with John Velazquez slated to ride. The colt is owned by Live Oak Plantation and trained by Tom Albertrani.

"We have been pleased with the way he has been training," said Albertrani who saddled Bernardini to victory in 2006. "We gave him a little time off and kept him in light training after the Belmont (Stakes). I backed off his workouts. He has always been a light-framed horse, so we didn't have to do a lot with him. He appears fit."

Brilliant Speed was third in the Belmont Stakes after finishing seventh in the Kentucky Derby. At Gulfstream Park this year he was second in the Dania Beach and Hallandale Beach Stakes, both on the turf.

"It looks like he's just getting better with every race and I would certainly expect to see him run another good race," said Albertrani. "I've been happy with his last two races, the Belmont and the Derby, I couldn't fault the surface. Hopefully again he might improve a little more and this might be the next step toward the Travers."

In 10 career starts Brilliant Speed has earned $625,750 with two wins and two seconds. Velazquez has won the Jim Dandy four times, including last year aboard A Little Warm.

Trainer Todd Pletcher goes for a fifth win in the stakes with Mike Repole's Stay Thirsty. The stablemate of champion Uncle Mo will start from post six with jockey Javier Castellano, Bernardini's rider five years ago.

"He's just coming into his own right now," said Repole about Stay Thirsty. "I think the one big advantage he has his two races over this track, winning his maiden by [almost] six-lengths and then finishing second to Boys At Tosconova by 1 1/2-lengths in the Hopeful, which is nothing to be ashamed of."

Stay Thirsty is coming off a second-place finish to Ruler On Ice in the Belmont Stakes following a 12th in the Run for the Roses. His first two starts this year were a win in the Gotham Stakes and a seventh in the Florida Derby.

The three-year-old has won two of eight starts for $500,000.

Here is the full field for the Jim Dandy in post position order: Moonshine Mullin, Emma-Jayne Wilson; Dominus, Julien Leparoux; Brilliant Speed, John Velazquez; Scotus, Alan Garcia; Will's Wildcat, Robby Albarado; Stay Thirsty, Javier Castellano and Alternation, Ramon Dominguez.

The Jim Dandy will be broadcast on Versus with a post-time of 5:45 p.m. (et).

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