Fly Down, the Dwyer Stakes (gr. II) winner and Belmont Stakes (gr. I) runner-up, tuned up for Saturday’s $500,000 Jim Dandy Stakes (gr. II) with a bullet half-mile move July 26 under jockey Jose Lezcano.
Going out on the Oklahoma Training Track after the second break, the chestnut son of Mineshaft covered the four furlongs in :47.30, fastest of 73 at the distance.
“It was exactly what I wanted,” said Hall of Famer Nick Zito, who trains Fly Down for Richard C. Pell. “He’s coming off a 1 1/2 mile race, and you have to do things like that. 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.”
Fly Down was one of a number of Jim Dandy hopefuls breezing at the Spa in the morning for the 1 1/8-mile race. Also working were A Little Warm, Aikenite , and Friend Or Foe, all of whom went on the main track after the renovation break.
A Little Warm, the Spectacular Bid winner who is 2-2-0 from four starts this year, went five furlongs in 1:00.05.
“I don’t think I could be any happier with him,” said trainer Tony Dutrow of Edward Evans’ homebred Stormin Fever colt, who most recently came off a three-month layoff to win an allowance race at Delaware Park June 29. “He went into his last race well, but not as good as I’ve seen him. He was going the right way, and right now, I’m very pleased.”
Aikenite, who rallied from last to score a two-length victory in a mile allowance at Belmont Park on June 19 after having competed in eight straight graded stakes, went a half-mile in :48.66 with jockey David Cohen aboard.
“As a younger horse, he wasn’t a particularly ambitious work horse, and to me, he’s gotten more aggressive,” said trainer Todd Pletcher of the Dogwood Stable color-bearer. “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.”
The undefeated Friend Or Foe, an impressive winner over General Maximus and Ibboyee in the Mike Lee at Belmont Park on June 20, drilled a half-mile in :47.33, fourth-fastest of 126 works at the distance on the main track.
“It looked like he was just galloping, which freaks me out a little,” said John Kimmel, who trains the Friends Lake colt for Chester and Mary Broman. “His fitness level is good; he’s just lacking two-turn race experience. I’m excited about running him, but we are asking him to do something he hasn’t done before against quality horses.”
Also likely for the Jim Dandy are Gainesway Stable’s Afleet Express, Mrs. John Magnier’s Steinbeck, and Majesty Stud’s Stormy Majesty. Questionable are Robert V. LaPenta’s Miner’s Reserve, who worked a half-mile in 48.80 July 26, and Fox Hill Farms’ Winslow Homer.