(Tenfold wins G1 Jim Dandy / Photo Courtesy of Elsa Lorieut & NYRA)
From the Media Team at Saratoga / Anthony Affrunti:
Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Tenfold took advantage of a stalking trip to win the Grade 2, $600,000 Jim Dandy presented by NYRA Bets by three-quarters of a length on Saturday at Saratoga Race Course.
Under jockey Ricardo Santana, Jr., Tenfold completed 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.49 over the main track. Bolstered by the come-from-behind effort, the 3-year-old son of Curlin will now try to become the 11th winner of the Jim Dandy to capture the Grade 1, $1.25 million Travers on August 25, should he start in the race for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen.
“This is the type of horse we thought we’d have for the Belmont,” Asmussen said. “He was away cleanly today. He’s got a big rhythm. He’s a horse who is capable of being fast. That’s how he’s most effective.”
Down the backside, the quintuple was led by John Oxley’s Flameaway, who set the opening quarter-mile in 23.90 second while the rest of the five-horse field followed in numerical order, as Tenfold stalked the leader with Reride and Sporting Chance in pursuit.
Flameaway continued at a sturdy pace running a half-mile in 47.16, and three-quarters in 1:11.88 as Santana began to close along the outside of Flameaway rounding the turn.
Approaching the quarter-pole, Flameaway was asked for more by jockey Jose Ortiz and given a tap of the whip, while Tenfold was at his flank. Turning for home, Tenfold launched his bid to the outside of Flameaway who kept on along the two path. The duel continued before Tenfold drifted at the eighth pole after Santana threw multiple crosses with the reins. Tenfold ducked out but maintained his drive as Santana remained aboard in the saddle before hitting the wire over Flameaway, who held off a late-running Vino Rosso by a head.
It was another three lengths back to Reride, whom Asmussen decided to run in the Jim Dandy after being scratching from Friday’s Curlin. Last year’s Grade 1 Hopeful winner Sporting Chance bolted at the three-eighths pole and walked off.
Tenfold’s drifting in the late stages of the race gave Asmussen concern, and the habit is something that the Kentucky-bred has shown in the past.
“I wasn’t happy until they put his number up,” he said. “I watched it from down the stretch a bit because he has lost concentration. Ironically, he has jumped back to his left lead and laid in his previous races. It’s obviously concerning. I’m glad he still won the race. But we all know we have work to do.”
Tenfold could become the 11th winner of the Jim Dandy to win the Travers if the winning connections decide to enter him in the Grade 1, $1.25 million race on August 25.
“That’s what we were trying to get to with this race here today,” said Asmussen, who won his third race of the day, all ridden by Santana. ‘I’m glad we ran him over this racetrack, because he does find something new all the time. Ricardo said when he moved away from that horse he got a view of the screen in the infield and he couldn’t get him to quit looking at it.”
Trainer Mark Casse remained undecided as to whether he will go on to the Travers with runner-up Flameaway, who returned after a sixth place finish in the June 23 Grade 3 Ohio Derby at Thistledown. Casse is likely to have at least one starter in the Mid-Summer Derby.
“He ran hard,” Casse said. “We’ll see [about the Travers]. I’ll talk to [his owner John] Oxley. As of an hour ago, I think Wonder Gadot is going to run in the Travers. We’ll see. I’m fairly certain, if everything stays the same, we’re going to try the Travers with her. She likes a mile and a quarter as good as anybody. We figure it’s one of our only shots, so why not go for it? As far as Flameaway, I’ll have to talk to Mr. Oxley.”
Tenfold, sent off as the 8-5 second choice, paid $5.50 to win.