Bernardini in Jim Dandy
Bernardini will be heavily favored to make it four straight wins when he takes on five other 3-year-olds in the $500,000 Jim Dandy today at Saratoga. The race is part of a pick six with a carry-over of $50,758.
Idle since his 5 1/4 -length victory in the Preakness on May 20 at Pimlico, Bernardini is using the Grade II at 1 1/8 miles as a prep for the $1-million Travers on Aug. 26.
Bernardini was fourth in his debut on Jan. 7 at Gulfstream Park, but hasn’t been challenged in three subsequent races. Before his win in the Preakness, which was marred by the career-ending injury to Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro, Bernardini had beaten maidens by 7 3/4 lengths on March 4 at Gulfstream, then won the Withers, a Grade III, by 3 3/4 lengths on April 29 at Aqueduct.
Bernardini will be ridden by Javier Castellano and carry top weight of 123 pounds.
The field is completed by Sunriver, who finished third in the Belmont Stakes in his last start on June 10, Oh So Awesome, Hemingway’s Key, and the John Oxley-owned entry of Minister’s Bid and Dr. Pleasure.
Race of the day: Attima, who finished last in the American Oaks on July 2 at Hollywood Park after winning her first two starts in the U.S., will cut back to a mile in the $150,000 San Clemente Handicap at Del Mar. Victor Espinoza will ride the 3-year-old Zafonic filly in the Grade II on turf, which is part of a pick six with a carry-over of more than $159,000.
One for the road: Play Dixie gets Lasix for her second career start and should improve enough to beat Illinois-bred maidens in the sixth race at Arlington Park.
Exotically speaking: A trifecta in the eighth with Place Cowboy on top, Captain Squire, We All Love Aleyna and Royal Place in the two hole and all in the third spot.
Winners: (previous day/meet total): 2/25. Money: (previous day/meet total): $13.80/$135.40. Total money bet: $152.