Preakness (gr. I) runner-up Macho Again split horses coming off the turn, took over inside the eighth-pole and held off a late charge from favored Pyro to post a half-length upset victory in the $500,000 Jim Dandy Stakes (gr. II) (VIDEO) July 27 at
Ridden by Julien Leparoux, West Point Thoroughbreds' Macho Again earned his first graded stakes victory in five tries while going off at odds of 8-1. The Dallas Stewart-trained son of Macho Uno entered the 1 1/8-mile Jim Dandy off a fifth-place finish in the June 7 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) in which Da’
Going off as the second betting choice, Da’
Garnering his fourth win in 11 lifetime starts, Macho Again completed nine furlongs on a ‘good’ main track in 1:51.16. Pyro, sent off at 3-2, came from 10 lengths back at the quarter-pole, but had to settle for second under Shaun Bridgmohan. Iowa Derby winner Tiz Now Tiz Then, who came off the turn to take a brief lead at the top of the lane, was three-quarters of a length further back in third.
“This is my first stakes win as a trainer at
“I feel blessed to train for
Breaking from post six, Da’
As they rounded the final turn Tale of Ekati made a bold three-wide move and assumed a narrow lead with Edgar Prado aboard, but the Barclay Tagg trainee was immediately tackled by Tiz Now Tiz Then after straightening away. Macho Again did not let that lead last long however, as he sailed right by Tiz Now Tiz Then and opened up in the stretch.
Pyro made his presence known at the sixteenth-pole, but fell just short of winner.
“He’s game,” Leparoux said. “The race before, he had a rough trip. He’s been coming out. Today, he ran very good off the layoff. I had to go outside in the stretch and he finished very good.
“When I won the Derby Trial and when I finished second in the Preakness, he was game and he was really good. He’s not much different; he hasn’t changed too much. He is still just a game horse. He tries all the time.”
The winner paid $18.40, $5.40 and $3.40. The exacta (7-4) returned $49, while the trifecta (
Tale of Ekati finished fourth, followed by Anak Nakal, Mint Lane and Da' Tara.
Pyro trainer Steve Asmussen had this to say after the race: “We finished second. There is nothing more I can say. Go talk to the winner.”