Jim Dandy Stakes Sports a Rich History
Way back in 1930 Jim Dandy tackled Triple Crown champ Gallant Fox in the 61st Travers Stakes at Saratoga. The ‘‘Fox of Belair,’’ as he was called, entered the historic stakes race with six straight wins as a 3-year-old.
Only one horse in the field of four was given a chance to beat 1-2 favorite: Whichone, at 6-5, who had defeated him as a 2-year-old and was runner-up in the Belmont Stakes.
On the blackboards marked by bookies’ chalk, Sun Falcon was 30-1 and Jim Dandy a whopping 100-1.
But it was Jim Dandy that destroyed the field “over a track deep with sticky mud,” according to newspaper reports. The Fox finished second eight lengths back. Losing trainer Jim “Sunny” Fitzsimmons later said, “It’s the last time that Gallant Fox will race on a muddy track.”
The Fox never lost again, winning three more before retiring at year’s end with world-record earnings of $328,165, going 9 for 10 as a sophomore. His career record: 11-3-2 of 17.
Gallant Fox died in ’54 and three years later was enshrined in the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.
On the other hand, Jim Dandy raced until age 11. He retired in ’39 with a record of 7-6-8 in 141 starts. Career earnings” $49, 570.
It took 34 years for Saratoga to page homage to Jim Dandy’s upset with an appropriate prep for the historic Travers Stakes. Malicious won the inaugural in ’64 when the distance was a mile. It has been staged at 1 1/8 miles since ’72 when Tentam triumphed.
This year’s 49th renewal, valued at $600,000, will be held on July 28. So far, several sophomores have committed to the Grade 2 race, including Paynter, runner-up to Union Rags in the Belmont Stakes on June 9.
The son of Awesome Again ‘‘lost his left hind shoe in the race,” trainer Bob Baffert told Bloodorse.com. ‘‘It must have been near the end. He incurred a nick on his left hind, but otherwise came out of the race in good shape.’’
Street Life, fourth in the Belmont, will also be headed to Saratoga. ‘‘I want to back him up in distance and hopefully get more pace to run into,’’ trainer Chad Brown said. ‘‘He’s got something to prove. He’s been knocking on the door, but he needs to be a little faster to beat these horses.’’
The son of ’07 Kentucky Derby champ Street Sense is 2-0-1 of 6.
Gemologist, who had is unbeaten streak snapped at five in the Kentucky Derby when he finished far back, is working at Belmont Park.
“The Jim Dandy is our target at the moment, unless something happens and we switch gears for the Haskell (July 29 at Monmouth Park), but we’re pointing for that weekend,” trainer Todd Pletcher said.
Union Rags is also training at Belmont and will race the final weekend in July, too. But trainer Michael Matz, who at first indicated that he would point the son of Dixie Union toward the Jim Dandy, recently said the Haskell is more likely.
‘‘I will have to make a decision,’’ Matz said. ‘‘I would imagine, though, that if you are trying to be the 3-year-old champion, you have to run in the Grade 1 races and that would be the Haskell.’’