07/29/2007 8:20PM

Dandy Enough


Commenter El Angelo writes: "Jim Dandy---a big step forward for CP West, or an utterly blah victory for Street Sense?"

How about a little of both and a little of neither? I'd call the Jim Dandy a perfect Travers prep for the victorious Street Sense, a very nice effort for runner-up C P West, and reserve "big step forward" for third-place Sightseeing.

Street Sense's workmanlike 1 1/2-length Jim Dandy earned a 104 Beyer on a day when there was nothing ambiguous about the clockings or the speed of the track. It was a few lengths slower than Saturday's track but consistent from race 1 to 10 and everything fell neatly into place. The 104 was lowest winning Jim Dandy figure since Favorite Trick's 103 a decade ago and well below the last five -- Medaglia d'Oro's 120 in 2002, Strong Hope's 110 in 2003, Purge's 109 in 2004, Flower Alley's 112 in 2005 and Bernardini's 114 last year. But I think it would be a huge mistake to view the effort unfavorably, given his trainer's history of using preps as preps and Street Sense's history of rising to major occasions. Street Sense ran an 87 in the Breeders' Futurity before winning the Breeders' Cup Juvenile with a 110, and a 102 in the Tampa Bay Derby and a 93 in the Blue Grass before winning the Derby with a 110 and just missing in the Preakness with a 111.

He was fresh off a 10-week layoff and closer to the pace than usual, only 3 1/2 lengths behind Flashstorm and C P West after a quarter in 23.48 and a half in 47.13, and within a length after six furlongs in 1:11.70. C P West surged clear on the far turn as Calvin Borel found himself briefly trapped and unable to make his favorite rail move with the favorite, but then found a seam to the outside and took up the chase. Street Sense gradually wore down C P West, who hung in well while drifting late. C P West ran a gutsy race but seems (at least for now) up against it going any further angainst the division's leaders, and might benefit from a turnback to seven furlongs in a race like the King's Bishop.

Sightseeing, five lengths behind Street Sense early, finished with a flourish to be beaten 2 1/4 lengths at the wire. Patiently handled by Shug McGaughey, Sightseeing is improving with age and distance, and while he'd have to take another big -- or massive -- step forward to beat Street Sense or Curlin at the top of their games, he looks like a colt who will relish another furlong and whose best days are ahead of him.

The announced crowd was 46,876 but that included people spinning for baseball caps. Street Sense got a throng of picture-taking visitors in the paddock, polite applause when he stepped on to the track, and rousing cheers when he returned to the winner's circle.

The Sunday card was otherwise unremarkable, with six of the nine other races being sprints for fillies, perhaps in anticipation of predicted weekend storms that amounted only to a half-hour downpour Saturday morning. J Z Warrior's 10-length victory discussed in the previous post was easily the best race of the day besides the Jim Dandy, earning the Bill Mott-trained daughter of Harlan's Holiday an 88 Beyer and probably propelling her to graded-stakes action next time out.

And finally, on Day Five, we have a carryover! A meet-high pool of $143k went unhit despite Street Sense winning at $2.70, so there's $92,503 in the kitty for Monday's card. After the HBO Sunday lineup, it will be time to burn the midnight oil.