SARATOGA SPRINGS — Zandon, last seen finishing third in the Kentucky Derby on May 7, made an eye-catching impression on the Saratoga Race Course main track on Saturday.
The striking dark bay colt trained by Chad Brown breezed at Saratoga for the first time in preparation for the July 30 Jim Dandy and Aug. 27 Travers, and did not disappoint.
Ridden by exercise rider Kriss Bon, Zandon worked four furlongs in 48.69 in what Brown characterized as a simple leg-stretcher, while his other top dirt colts, Preakness winner Early Voting and Jack Christopher, worked at Belmont Park.
The undefeated Jack Christopher will run in the $1 million Haskell next Saturday, and Brown said he’ll make a decision on the Haskell or Jim Dandy for Early Voting on Sunday morning, after consulting with owner Seth Klarman of Klaravich Stables.
There’s no question what Zandon will do next, and Saturday’s breeze was an important step in the direction of the Jim Dandy.
“Our plan was to get him over the track and get him a good feel for it, and he couldn’t have went any better,” Brown said. “I said ‘Go 48 and a couple [fifths of a second],’ and he hit it right on the dot.”
Zandon set himself up for a shot at the Derby by winning the Grade I Blue Grass at Keeneland, then fell into a spirited duel with Epicenter down the stretch at Churchill Downs on May 7 before Rich Strike came up on the inside to pass them both late and win at betting odds of 80-1.
Brown skipped the Preakness with Zandon and never considered running back in the Belmont Stakes because he doesn’t consider Zandon to be a mile-and-a-half horse.
“He’s been working along down at Belmont,” Brown said. “I freshened him up after the Derby, he’s put some weight on and he really looks better than ever right now. I was just giving him a little bit of a breather from the racing end of it.”
Brown said he’s not worried about the 10-week layoff between the Derby and the Jim Dandy, “Just knowing the horse.”
“He’ll run good fresh. I can see it in his training, the way he’s matured, the way he’s worked gives me a lot of confidence. He’ll be ready to go.”
Early Voting (49.25) and Jack Christopher (49.80) each breezed on the Belmont main track.
A pair of four-race winning streaks will be on the line in Sunday’s feature, the Grade III Quick Call turf sprint for 3-year-olds.
Big Invasion is the 6-5 morning-line favorite off a win in the Paradise Creek at Belmont Park on May 29.
After breaking his maiden at Gulfstream Park in February, Big Invasion has won three stakes races at three different tracks, most recently the seven-furlong Paradise Creek at Belmont Park on May 29.
In the Quick Call, he’ll cut back to the distance at which he won the Williams Walker at Churchill Downs on May 4.
The Larry Rivelli-trained Nobals has also won four straight, including two stakes at Turfway Park, the Woodstock at Woodbine and most recently an allowance at Churchill Downs on June 5.
Rivelli also has One Timer, who finished ninth two lengths behind Twilight Gleaming in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint, in the Quick Call.
One Timer is named for Rivelli’s son Dominick, who will play hockey for the University of Miami (Ohio) on scholarship and is known for his one-timer slap shot.
AROUND THE TRACK
City Man’s performance in Friday’s Forbidden Apple was good enough to warrant consideration for the Grade I Fourstardave on Aug. 13.
City Man earned a 103 Beyer Speed Figure for the win, which pushed the New York-bred’s streak of consecutive years with a stakes win to four.
“I went by and saw him this morning, and he looks like’s ready to go again,” owner Dean Reeves told the New York Racing Association. “To get a win at Saratoga is special, and to me it’s always great when it’s a Mucho Macho Man foal that we bought as a 2-year-old. This horse has really done well for us.”
Reeves owned 2013 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Mucho Macho Man. …
Trainer Mark Casse is looking forward to bringing Wonder Wheel, an impressive winner of the Debutante at Churchill Downs on July 4, to Saratoga for the Grade I Spinaway on closing weekend.
“I think she has to be one of the best in her class,” Casse said.
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Categories: At The Track, Sports