Alpha winning the Jim Dandy Stakes.

Alpha winning the Jim Dandy Stakes.

Coglianese Photos

Alpha Definite for Travers Off Jim Dandy Win

Godolphin standout likely to have two workouts before Aug. 25 test at Saratoga.

Godolphin Racing’s Alpha  emerged from his Jim Dandy (gr. II) victory July 28 in fine fettle and is definitely bound for the Travers Stakes (gr. I), trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said the morning after the race.

“He ate everything up and cooled out quickly,” McLaughlin said July 29 from Saratoga Race Course, noting that he had already been in contact with Godolphin racing manager Simon Crisford.

"He (Crisford) was very happy, and we’re going to the Travers," McLaughlin said. "Yesterday was a very important win, and we’re very happy, all of us.”

McLaughlin said Alpha likely would work twice prior to the August 25 Travers at Saratoga.

“He’s not a big, heavy horse, we were trying to put on weight, so we didn’t have to train so hard (prior to the Jim Dandy),” McLaughlin said. “We won’t do so much (before the Travers). The most we would work is twice. It’s four weeks, so we’d probably work on August 11th and the 18th, most likely."

McLaughlin said Alpha has maintained top condition even though he hadn't been out since the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), in which he finished 12th May 5.

"People thought about needing the race (in the Jim Dandy), with the time, but he’s fit, and never really missed any time except the few days he had a temperature (before the June 9 Belmont Stakes). He’s put on weight and he’s doing very well, that’s the main thing.”

In Saturday’s Jim Dandy, Alpha went to the lead out of the gate under Ramon Dominguez and maintained his advantage to the wire, covering a half-mile in 49.30 seconds and three-quarters in 1:14.03. He completed 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.47.

“It was a great run, everything went as planned,” McLaughlin said. “We weren’t sure; plan A, from the one hole, was to break, be forwardly placed, and if nobody’s going too fast, ([I told Dominguez), ‘I’d love to see you on the lead. If they go fast, then maybe we’ll sit in behind them.’ He broke great, that was a big plus. When I looked at the tote board to see the half in :49, I was liking that, and I liked three-quarters in 1:14.”

While Alpha employed front-running tactics over yesterday’s sloppy, sealed racetrack, McLaughlin said the Bernardini  colt is certainly not guaranteed to set the pace in the 1 ¼-mile Travers.

“You have to take each race as a different race,” the trainer said. “Everybody says, ‘What about the Travers? You going to go to the lead?’ We don’t know. We don’t know what post we draw, if Hansen shows up, Paynter  shows up, we’re probably not on the lead. But, we’ll deal with that when we get there."