SARATOGA SPRINGS - After turning in a runner-up finish in the Kentucky Derby and a ninth-place run in the Belmont Stakes by Commanding Curve, trainer Dallas Stewart has been looking for the right situation for the 3-year-old to return to action.
With an eye on the Aug. 23 Travers Stakes at Saratoga Race Course, Stewart looked at Friday's Curlin Stakes and today's Grade I Jim Dandy.
he made his decision late Wednesday to run the West Point Thoroughbred syndicate-owned - including former Johnstown resident Kathleen Sands Martin and her husband Greg - to run in today's 1 1/8th-mile $600,000 Jim Dandy Stakes.
"We went to the track at 5 a.m. Saturday morning to watch Commanding Curve in a 6 a.m. workout," Martin said. "He had a great workout and I think that is one of the things Terry Finley, the head of West Point Thoroughbreds, and our trainer Dallas Stewart discussed in great detail at that time. We knew we were in the Curlin and after his workout that put a different spin on it and they decided lets go in the Jim Dandy."
Commanding Curve, with Shaun Bridgmohan up, will break from post position six with 5-1 morning line odds.
Belmont Stakes champion Tonalist will break from the fourth post as the 8-5 favorite, while triple crown contender Wicked Strong will go from the eighth post at 2-1 odds.
They will be joined in the field by Cousin Stephen (12-1), Legend (12-1), Ulanbrator (15-1) and Kid Cruz (8-1).
"We are the sixth post position in the Jim Dandy and we would have been in the first post position in the Curlin," Martin said. "We are going to go for the big money and are looking for a win."
The Martin's have already had some success in the 40-day Saratoga meet.
"We had a horse race opening day with Ring Knocker," Martin said. "Everybody picked her to finish dead last at 20-1 and she came in second. She will run one more time during the meet. We have two more horses with Sackatoga Stables. Flattermefabulous, a 2-year-old filly just worked out of the gate Thursday to get her ready."