Jim Dandy Odds & Picks, Plus Two More Saturday Horse Races: Forte Favored at Saratoga

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Rather than take a one-horse stand in the five-horse Jim Dandy Stakes, gamblers may consider additional options on Saturday.

On the day’s stakes schedule, including the feature at Saratoga, where Forte is the large favorite.:

  • $250,000 Monmouth Oaks, 4:20 p.m., Monmouth Park, Race 9
  • $350,000 Vanderbilt, 4:26 p.m., Saratoga Race Course, Race 8
  • $500,000 Jim Dandy, 5:45 p.m., Saratoga Race Course, Race 10

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Here’s a betting package of these three races, topped by the Jim Dandy at the Spa.

Odds, Picks, Betting Overview of Jim Dandy Stakes

Here is the field for Saturday’s $500,000 Jim Dandy.

EntryJockeyTrainerMorning-line odds
PP. 1 DisarmJoel RosarioSteve Asmussen6-1
PP. 2 Forte Irad Ortiz, Jr.Todd Pletcher7-5
PP. 3 Hit ShowLuis SaezBrad Cox6-1
PP. 4 Saudi CrownFlorent GerouxBrad Cox5-2
PP. 5 Angel of EmpireFlavien PratBrad Cox5-2

How to Bet With, or Against, Forte

Take Forte, or look elsewhere for more betting value.

That’s what many horse-racing gamblers ponder with such a small field.

The Belmont Stakes runner-up (after being scratched as the favorite from the Kentucky Derby) drew favored morning-line odds of 7-5 for the 1 1/8-mile event.

Come Saturday, the odds might be below even-money, perhaps substantially so.

Keeping the odds honest to a point will be Angel of Empire, who finished fourth in the Belmont in a dead-heat with Hit Show.

Disarm, fourth in the Kentucky Derby, has yet to run his best race. He is a distinct closer and needs a hot pace to run at. He won a maiden race at Saratoga last summer. Has the best recent Beyer speed figure in the race, 102 at Ellis Park in early June. Finished only a couple lengths off Angel of Empire in the Kentucky Derby. Improving. Could be the value of the race.

Saudi Crown will likely set the pace and try to stretch nine furlongs for the first time.

The Pick: No. 2 Forte

I will bet it this at even-money or higher. Otherwise, this is a good race to watch and serve as a handicapping barometer for the Aug. 26 Travers, for which this is the official prep race.

Bet suggestions: Demand value. Forte, on paper, is only a little better than these. A slight uptick from others would be enough for him to lose.

Tutorials: What is an exacta bet in horse racing? | Superfecta bets explained | Place bets | Show bets

Vanderbilt Handicap Analysis & Picks

Two races before the Jim Dandy is the Grade 1, $350,000 Vanderbilt Stakes, contested at six furlongs among horses three years old and up.

Odds and picks for Saturday's Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga Race Course.
Saratoga Race Course, site of Saturday’s Jim Dandy Stakes and Vanderbilt Handicap (photo by: Cheryl Ann Quigley)

Betting Contenders

No. 5 Gunite: May be aptly named for this race, as in saying “good night” to this field. Marvelous sprinter who was fourth to Cody’s Wish in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile last November and has returned with two excellent six-furlong sprints. They were both run in 1:08 and change. Perhaps his connections fancy him as a sprinter.

Gunite won the King Cotton Stakes near the front end, in the slop at Oaklawn Park. He followed with an off-the-pace romp in the $224,5000 Aristedes Stakes at Churchill Downs.

No. 6 Dean Delivers: Check these numbers in the $100,000 Smile Sprint Stakes. He ran the opening quarter in 21.88 and the half-mile in 44:30 at Gulfstream Park. He was a convincing gate-to-wire winner and figures to bring the same intentions to this race. May be the controlling speed.

No. 4 Elite Power: Has captured six in a row and looked like a bulldog doing it in the Grade II True North Stakes for $250,000. Will be stalking and looking to pounce on the pacesetters down the lane. Champion sprinter has had the look of royalty and will be heavily played.

No. 3 Awesome Aaron: A good third to Hoist the Gold, who finished second in a race to Elite Power. Steady record tickets him as an in-the-money candidate who can be dangerous if he’s on. Big initial price of 30-1.

No. 7 Little Vic: Won at Aqueduct in the Tom Fool, but got caught up in a speed duel in the $250,000 John Nerud Stakes and finished off the board. Shortens to six furlongs, which will help. Passed down the lane by Synthesis, one of his foes here.

No. 2 Synthesis: Out-finished Gun It (No. 1 horse in this field) to win handily in allowance optional claiming company back at Belmont Park in May. Early price of 20-1, not bad for a horse that could sneak into the bottom of the exotics.

Pace Considerations for the Vanderbilt

Dean Delivers most likely wants the lead, with Gunite and Elite Power looking like the class horses trying to run him down.

Synthesis and Awesome Aaron, on their best, could be live on the bottom of the ticket.

Vanderbilt Picks

Win Bet: No. 5 Gunite. Figuring that Little Vic softens up Dean Delivers

Exacta Box: 5 with 4 and 6. Gunite boxed with Dean Delivers and Elite Power
Cost of this $2 Exacta Box: $8

$1 trifecta box: 4-5-6. Gunite, Dean Delivers, Elite Power
Cost: $6

$1 trifecta box: 4,5, 2. Gunite, Elite Power and Synthesis. If Awesome Aaron looks better than Synthesis on the track, I will put him in this ticket instead.
Cost: $6

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Monmouth Oaks

Meanwhile, down in New Jersey, the fillies take center state in the Monmouth Oaks, a Grade 3 event run at 1 1/16 miles

Early Pick

No. 4 Foggy Night: Love Paco Lopez on him. Won the $300,000 Delaware Oaks with him aboard in early July. He’s the nine-time riding champion at Monmouth Park. Lopez has also ridden Seduction, the 8 horse in this race. But he’s named on the 4.

Hot horse, a jockey who loves the track. Foggy Night is in a good spot and may be somewhat overlooked. Early odds of 4-1 are outstanding if they hold up.

Class Droppers

No. 9 Occult: Was beaten handily by Promiseher America in the Gazelle, but then ran a nice rallying third in the $500,000 Acorn. This is a notable class drop, but is this a consistent filly?

No. 3 Promiseher America: Gets class relief after being nowhere in the $750,000 Kentucky Oaks. Won a shocker in April at 26-1, capturing the $250,000 Gazelle Stakes on a stalking trip. … Comes down to the level she won at before. Why not?

Horses Who Like Monmouth Park

No. 6 Miss New York and No. 7 Shidabhuti: Best graduates of the $100,000 Boiling Springs Stakes at the host track. They bested Seduction (the 8) and At The Crossroads (2).

No. 10 Riding Pretty: Was moving well at the end of a minor stakes race here. Should be a big price, maybe a pluck on the bottom of exotics.

Monmouth Oaks Picks

Win and Place Wager: No. 4 Foggy Night
Cost: $10 ($5 win and place)

Exacta Wagers: Box: 4-3. Foggy Night and Promiseher America.
Cost: $4 for $2 box.

Superfecta Wagers: 10-cent key 4 first and second with 3, 6, 7, 9, 10.
Cost: $12
For this superfecta bet to hit, Foggy Night must finish in the first or second position, with the combo of Promiseher America, Miss New York, Shidabhuti, Occult, and Riding Pretty filling out the rest of the top four spots.

Alternate strategy: Drop a horse from this mix and box the other five in a 10-cent superfecta. This requires a good read of the board and a hunch over whether a longshot hits the board.
Cost: $12

About the Author
Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo is an award-winning writer and broadcaster, who has covered the sports industry since the 1970s. He won the Sam Taub Award for Excellence in Boxing Broadcasting by the Boxing Writers Association of America in 1997, and is in the New Jersey and Atlantic City Boxing Halls of Fame. Bontempo has broadcast major fights all over the world. The advent of legalized sports wagering shifted his focus to this exciting new industry in 2018.

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