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Chad B. Harmon

Tonalist Breezes in Advance of Jim Dandy

Wicked Strong, Samraat also complete works at Saratoga Race Course July 19.

Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Tonalist  turned in his final work July 19 before the Jim Dandy Stakes (gr. II), going five furlongs in 1:01.79 in company with stablemate Life In Shambles at Saratoga Race Course.

The work ranked fourth of 14 at the distance. The breeze, in preparation for the July 26 test for 3-year-olds, followed three moves at Belmont Park since the son of Tapit  won the Belmont Stakes.

Trained by Christophe Clement for Robert Evans, Tonalist, with exercise rider Alvaro Hernandez up, commenced the work 1 1/2 lengths in front of Life in Shambles, who was ridden by Joel Rosario. Tonalist was hounded by that one for much of the way before Life In Shambles drew alongside the strapping colt in the latter stages of the work.

"Nice work; I'm happy with it," said Clement. "Everything went well. (Tonalist) started a touch slow and finished up well. He looked good; I'm excited.

"He's put on quite a bit of weight since the Belmont," he added. "I don't think he's quite as fit as he was for the Belmont, but that's OK. He's not supposed to be quite as fit."

Life in Shambles, who ran a gallant third in the Easy Goer June 7, is pointing to the July 25 Curlin, according to Clement.

• In other Saratoga news, Wood Memorial (gr. I) stakes winner Wicked Strong  breezed six furlongs in 1:13.09 Saturday in preparation for the Jim Dandy. The Jim Dandy will be Wicked Strong's first start since dead-heating with California Chrome  for fourth in the Belmont June 7. He also was fourth in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).

Jerkens said he plans to have Wicked Strong wear blinkers in the Jim Dandy in the hope that the equipment change will help the colt maintain his focus.

*Two-time grade III winner Samraat tuned up for his next start in either the Jim Dandy or the William Hill Haskell Invitational Stakes (gr. I) at Monmouth Park the following day, with a half-mile work in :48.79 over Saratoga's main track for trainer Rick Violette this morning.

"The Jim Dandy is the first choice," Violette said. "We'll certainly look at who's going where before we decide. There are pluses to both races. We'll kind of handicap and see where our style suits best and what the competition is and pick our poison after that."