Zito To Saddle A Pair in Short Jim Dandy Field

Trainer Nick Zito will send two of his 2005 Triple Crown contenders into action in Saturday's $500,000 Jim Dandy Stakes (gr. II) at Saratoga Race Course. Belmont Stakes (gr. I) runner-up Andromeda's Hero and barnmate Noble Causeway lead the field of six entered.

Zito--who will be inducted to the Hall of Fame across Union Street from the famed track Aug. 8--has named Rafael Bejarano to ride Andromeda's Hero who will break from post three.

The chestnut son of Fusaichi Pegasus  finished seven lengths behind Afleet Alex in the Belmont, coming with a solid finish on the outside to easily best the rest of the field. Robert LaPenta's Whitehorse Stables paid $310,000 for the colt at the 2003 Keeneland September yearling sale. Andromeda's Hero failed to meet his reserve in Keeneland's April 2-year-olds in training sale after a final bid of $725,000.

Out of the Storm Bird mare Marozia, Andromeda's Hero was bred in Kentucky by Barnett Enterprises. The colt has his sire's high-strung temperament, a win in the Feb. 26 Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs, and earnings of $380,270 to his credit. He put in a five-furlong work (1:01.72) over the Saratoga main track Saturday and will carry a co-highweight of 117.

Todd Pletcher, who won the 2004 Jim Dandy with Purge, will start Eugene Melnyk's Flower Alley as the other co-highweight. Second to Roman Ruler by a half-length his last time out in the Dwyer Stakes (gr. II) at Belmont, the son of Distorted Humor  got off to a slow start in the in the Kentucky Derby and was steadied amid the crowded field before finishing ninth.

Out of the Lycius mare Princess Olivia, Flower Alley was bred by George Brunacini and Bona Terra Farms. Melnyk bought the colt for $165,000 at the 2003 Keeneland September yearling sale. The chestnut colt won the March 26 Lane's End Stakes (gr. II) at Turfway and leads the field with earnings of $551,660.

He and John Velazquez, aboard for the first time in the Dwyer, will exit two spots from the rail.

Breaking from post five under 115 is My Meadow Farm's Noble Causeway, whose best effort this year came in a second-place finish in the April 2 Florida Derby, 1 1/2 lengths behind High Fly. The well-bred son of Giant's Causeway , out of the Seeking the Gold mare Mimi's Golden Girl, was a $1,150,000 Keeneland yearling.

Bred in Kentucky by Reiko Baum and Michael Baum, Noble Causeway hasn't run since a sixth-place effort in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) May 21. His last recorded work was a four-furlong breeze (:50.36) July 3 over the Saratoga main track.

Jerry Bailey will ride.

Looking to get back to form is Centennial Farms' Reverberate. The son of Thunder Gulch was a troubled tenth in the Belmont, though prior to that he had shown promise including a second behind Oratory in the May 28 Peter Pan Stakes (gr. II).

The grand-looking chestnut was bred in Kentucky by the Edward Seltzer Trust and purchased at the same sale as his Jim Dandy foes for $400,000. He has shown plenty of speed in his two career wins and could be a pace factor under Jose Santos.

Trainer Sal Russo said Reverberate "popped a quarter crack" heading into the Belmont. He worked his colt on the main track on Tuesday going four furlongs in :49.43.

Mr. Congeniality, by the late Chester House, and Jazz King, by K One King  round out the field.

Jim Dandy Stakes (gr. II), Saturday, July 30, 3-year-olds, 1 1/8 miles, $500,000. Appx. post time 5:15 p.m. EDT.

PP--Horse, Weight, Jockey

1--Reverberate, 115, Jose Santos
2--Flower Alley, 117, John Velazquez
3--Andromeda's Hero, 117, Rafael Bejarano
4--King of Jazz, 115, Edgar Prado
5--Noble Causeway, 115, Jerry Bailey
6--Mr. Congeniality, 115, Richard Migliore