Medallist and The Cliff's Edge, the one-two finishers in the 1 1/16-mile Dwyer Stakes (gr. II) at Belmont on July 11 head a seven-horse field for Sunday's nine-furlong Jim Dandy Stakes (gr. II) for 3-year-olds at Saratoga. The Jim Dandy is the traditional prep for the $1-million Travers Stakes (gr. I) to be run at the Spa on Aug. 28.
The Jim Dandy, with a post time of approximately 5:20 p.m. EDT will be shown nationally on tape delay on ESPN2's live coverage of the Haskell (gr. I) from Monmouth Park from 6-7 p.m.
Robert LaPenta's The Cliff's Edge may be the most accomplished horse in the field, but Robert Clay's Medallist is the hottest. Their running styles differ, making for an intriguing match up.
Medallist, a homebred son of Touch Gold
has won two straight graded stakes in New York. On May 10, Medallist romped by 3 1/4-lengths in the Withers Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct, covering the mile in 1:34.49. He came back in the Dwyer at Belmont and set a stakes mark of 1:40.02 while topping a closing The Cliff's Edge by 3 3/4 lengths.
Trained by Hall of Famer Allen Jerkens, the front-running Medallist is out of the Star de Naskra mare Santaria and has a 3-1-1 slate from six starts. In a stellar career that has spanned five decades, Jerkens has yet to win either the Jim Dandy or the Travers.
"I don't know if he's ratable," Jerkens told the NYRA press office. "We're running here to find out if he is. I'm hoping he goes over there and does it. I'm not making any preditions."
Jockey Jorge Chavez, who was aboard in Medallist's two stakes wins, has the call.
The Cliff's Edge was making his first start in the Dwyer since running fifth as the fourth choice in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I). In his final Derby prep, the son of Gulch
rallied from well off the pace to win the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland.
As a 2-year-old, The Cliff's Edge broke his maiden at Saratoga in his career debut for trainer Nick Zito. He'll be ridden by the only rider he's ever had, Shane Sellers.
The Cliff's Edge's Beyer Speed Figure of 111 in the Blue Grass and Medallist's 112 Beyer recorded in the Dwyer are not only tops in the field, but among the top six figures made by 3-year-olds this year.
Adding speed to the mix is Starlight Stable, Paul Saylor, and Johns Martin's Purge, winner of the 1 1/8-mile Peter Pan Stakes (gr. II) at Belmont on May 22. The Kentucky-bred son of Pulpit
set the early fractions before fading in the 1 1/2-mile Belmont Stakes (gr. I) in his last start for trainer Todd Pletcher.
"His race in the Peter Pan was extra good," Pletcher said. "As far as the Belmont goes, it was one of those things if you knew then what you know now, you might have done something different. The horse has done well and we've pointed to this race since the Belmont."
Other entrants in the Jim Dandy include Eddington, who was fourth in the Belmont after running third in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I); Niigon, winner of the Queen's Plate at Woodbine; Iowa Derby winner Swingforthefences, who is also entered for the Haskell; and the Bob Baffert-trained Courageous Act.Jim Dandy Stakes (gr. II), $500,000, 3-year-olds, 1 1/8 miles, Saratoga, Sunday, Aug. 6, post time 5:20 p.m. EDT
PP-- Horse, Jockey, Wgt., ML
1-- Medallist, Jorge Chavez, 121, 5-2
2-- Courageous Act, Edgar Prado, 117, 8-1
3-- The Cliff's Edge, Shane Sellers, 123, 2-1
4-- Niigon, Robert Landry, 117, 15-1, 15-1
5-- Eddington, Richard Migliore, 115, 6-1
6-- Swingforthefences, Shaun Bridgmohan, 117, 6-1
7--Purge, John Velasquez, 121, 4-1