GII – The Dandy
$600.000 Graded Stake a Mile and One Eighth on Dirt For Three Year Olds
One of the staples of the summer at the spa is the GII Dandy. It always features some of the top three year olds. Over the years this race has seen the likes of Grady, Meals On Wheels, Flash, Whats Up, Steel Ball and A One. Eight talented three year olds will battle it out over the mile and an eighth dirt course at the Spa. Three owners in the race have won it before, Mb Stables, Jerry Garcia Racing and Serenity Stables are all looking for their second Dandy title.
1- Bronx Bomber (Trained by Aer Stables, Ridden by Alvarado J)
Two straight seventh place finishes in the BEL and KYD resulted in some much deserved rest for Bronx Bomber. Before that he was able to punch his ticket into the triple crown races with a win in the SUN Derby. This three year old sun of New York Yankees put in an impressive bullet work on July 10th in preparation for this start, and very likely lead to his connections giving this race a try when he came up with a 1:10 six furlong work on the dirt at BEL. He will have regular rider Alvarado J who is a past winner of the Dandy. Winning the 2012 version aboard Matt Kenseth. He will likely be one of, if not the only pace setter in the race as the race lacks much early speed and Bronx Bomber has shown a liking to being up near the early lead as of late. If that is the case he may again struggle down the stretch to maintain that speed and will lose ground as the back field makes their charge down the stretch.
2- Niner Forty Niner (Trained by Serenity Stables, Ridden by Ortiz J L)
The second place finisher in the Preakness and probably the most well known horse in the field is Niner Forty Niner. He was a popular name along the backstretch during the TC run but never put it all together for a win in any of the three races. He will be getting a jockey change after teaming up with Pennington F for his previous four starts he will have Ortiz J L aboard this time out, hoping the shake up in jocks is what he needs to get over the top. His work times have been a tick slower then they have been earlier in the year but not slow enough to raise red flags, yet.
3- La Lune Rain (Trained by Smokey Stover, Ridden by Arroyo A S)
After being purchased less then two weeks ago La Lune Rain will be making his first start for his new connections. The $270.000 is a steep one for a fairly unproven horse as of yet but they are hoping a win in the Dandy will make that back in a hurry. The purchase price all appears to be based on his impressive optional claimer win last time out. The time in that mile and an eighth race was the fastest clocked time for any three year old race in 2017. It can be easier to run a race like this against lesser competition so it will be fun to see if he can translate that effort into graded stake company as he has struggled to do so when stepping up against that level in the past.
4- Banshee Star (Trained by Joseph Racing, Ridden by Ortiz I Jr)
Third place in this years KYD sticks out when looking at the form for Banshee Star. His next start after that was a disappointing fifteenth place finish in the BEL which signaled he needed some much earned time off. He has stayed in NY while taking his break regularly working in the mornings at BEL before shipping to SAR last week in preparation for the Dandy. His work tab has not been overly exciting since his disappointing BEL so it is uncertain what version of this gelding we will see on Saturday, the one from early 2017 that ended in his third place KYD finish or what we saw last time out.
5- Workingmanshero (Trained by Jerry Garcia Racing, Ridden by Geroux F)
When switching from turf to dirt in his last time out he got zero respect from the betting public when he went off at almost 82-1. Despite being ignored at the betting windows Workingmanshero finished a very strong second behind one of the top up and coming three year olds Clash Study in the GIII Dwyer. The extra distance on the dirt doesn’t look like something he should be able to handle just fine. His work tab includes a bullet work on June 19th of 136.1 for the mile at BEL which puts him in elite company amongst three year olds. He will likely be passed over at the windows for some of the bigger names but could be a live long shot.
6- Slither (Trained by John Henry, Ridden by Velazquez J R)
In his first start for new connections Slither was only able to muster up a sixth place finish in the GIII OH Derby. His works leading up to that start suggested he may not be ready to run and that proved to be the case that day. His most recent works are looking much better though and his connections will be expecting a much better effort this time out. His best race of the year was a second place finish in the GI SA Derby at this same distance and will be looking for an effort similar to that in the Dandy.
7- The Right Stuff (Trained by Mb Stables, Ridden by Albarado R J)
The BEL was the first race of The Right Stuff’s career he didn’t hit the board. He helped push the early pace but tired out trying to finish off the mile and a half race. The cut back in distance should help get him back on track in the Dandy. He had two very close calls at the mile and an eighth distance earlier in the year with second and third place finishes in the GIII Peter Pan and GII LA Derby. His works are always near the top of the charts and steadily improving throughout 2017 suggesting he is still finding his way and we haven’t seen the best from The Right Stuff yet. The race lacks much early pace so he could find himself on the lead but ideally wants to be the one stalking that pace early on. If he can get a stalking trip he has a shot at breaking through with his biggest win of his career.
8- Que Cosa (Trained by D J C Racing Stables, Ridden by Bejarano R)
Getting the outside draw in the Dandy is Que Cosa. He is one of the few in the race to not run in any of the TC races this year but comes into the race off a solid second place finish in the OH Derby last time out. Overall it has been a bit of struggle in 2017 for this three year colt with only two second place finishes in five starts. The outside post may make it difficult to find a hole to sneak to the inside. He typically wants to be four to five lengths off the lead but may be forced to do that at least a few wide most of the way around the track. His lack of tactical speed combined with post position may be too much to overcome.
My Selections: 2/7/3