ugene and Laura Melnyk's Graeme Hall upset favored Unshaded and five other 3-year-olds, winning the $400,000 Jim Dandy Stakes (gr. II) by 1 3/4 lengths Saturday at Saratoga. Godolphin Racing's Curule finished second, 2 1/4 lengths ahead of Unshaded.
From the outside post, Albert the Great sprinted to the lead into the first turn but lost ground while four wide, allowing Brave Quest a short lead as they rounded the turn. Albert the Great regained the lead, running the opening quarter in :23.04 with Brave Quest and Graeme Hall within a length of the lead. As they made their way toward the second turn, Brave Quest dropped back, leaving Albert the Great and Graeme Hall to duel on the lead through subsequent quarters of :23.07 and :24.55. Postponed made a big move while wide on the turn for home, as Curule moved into contention. After running the opening six furlongs in 1:10.66, Graeme Hall opened a daylight lead while running the fourth quarter in :25.23, with Curule chasing in second. Graeme Hall increased his lead by a quarter length while running the final furlong in :13.06 seconds, with Curule spinning his wheels in second, and Unshaded inching up in third. Over a fast track, the winner completed the 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.95 under Jerry Bailey.
Sent off at 6-1, Graeme Hall returned $13.80, $6.60, and $3.90. Curule, the second highest price on the board, paid $11.40 and $5. Unshaded returned $3. The winning exacta combination paid $169.
The Todd Pletcher-trained Graeme Hall earned $240,000 for the win, his fourth in 11 career starts and first since the Arkansas Derby (gr. II) in April. He was eased in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) before being given a short break, returning to run second in the $100,000 Long Branch Breeders' Cup Stakes at Monmouth Park in July. Graeme Hall (Dehere--Win Crafty Lady, by Crafty Prospector) was bred in Kentucky by Sabine Stables.
Postponed finished fourth, followed by Brave Quest, Millencolin, and Albert the Great. (Chart, Equibase