07/30/2010 2:53PM

I Don't Get It

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While it is true that Monmouth's Haskell Invitational is a richer and more prestigious race than Saratoga's Jim Dandy Stakes, these two races are still essentially the same race. They are both nine furlong events for 3-year-olds run on the same weekend. You would think that with the advantages the Haskell has, the Jim Dandy would have a tough time surviving. But the Jim Dandy remains viable because because it offers something that the Haskell can't: A race over the track for the event both the Haskell and Jim Dandy are stepping stones for, Saratoga's Travers Stakes.

But the Jim Dandy's ability to co-exist with the Haskell appears threatened, and the source of that threat is baffling. On Sunday, one day after Saratoga offers the Jim Dandy, the track offers the Curlin Stakes, one of three stakes races on their card. The Curlin, like the Jim Dandy, is for 3-year-olds at nine furlongs. The only difference between the Curlin and the Jim Dandy, besides purse money, is the Curlin is restricted to those who have not won a graded stakes over one mile this year, a restriction that really doesn't eliminate all that many horses.

You have to question the wisdom of adding another nine furlong stakes for 3-year-olds to the same weekend of the Haskell and Jim Dandy. After all, it's not like the 3-year-old division is ever deep enough after the Triple Crown is over to support three such races in two days. But you really have to wonder about a track that already has one of the two such existing races being the track to add another.

Even with this year's Haskell attracting many prominent horses from this year's Triple Crown, Saturday's Jim Dandy lured a very nice nine horse field. But two of those nine Jim Dandy entrants - Winslow Homer and Miner's Reserve - were also able to enter the Curlin. Winslow Homer and Miner's Reserve are the types who lent quality depth to the Jim Dandy field and made the race attractive. But if they both opt for the softer Curlin, then the Jim Dandy becomes a less attractive seven horse race.

Instead of running the risk of cannibalizing the Jim Dandy, why wouldn't the NYRA run the Curlin next weekend, on the Whitney undercard? I understand that would leave only three weeks between the Curlin and Travers. But the not-so-exclusive restrictive clause in the conditions of the Curlin really speaks to late developing 3-year-olds who by at least partial definition should have little difficulty handling a three week turnaround.

ziva More than 1 year ago
Hello Mike, I try to watch Blinkers Off every Friday, and was glad I did when you picked WowWowWow. I used your pick in my $1 straight pick 4 and it returned $1070.00. When I told my niece in Wyoming, she said something like "No Way." So I faxed her a copy of the ticket. When she called I told her to record Blinkers Off on Friday mornings. I am going to take this copy to Remington Park this Saturday and show some of our friends and tell them to watch you and Matt on Friday mornings. Thanks so much. Excellent return on $1!
Joe DiBaglay More than 1 year ago
More $7,500 claimers! Down with stakes racing from G1 to overnights!!!!!!
Delmar * More than 1 year ago
I WON'T GET IT................................................................... if you do not have Lookin' at Lucky as the top 3 year old on your list next week.
Virgin Queen More than 1 year ago
mike, glad 2 c u blogg'in. look forward 2 your posts. as national handicapper 4 drf it might get hot in the kitchen from time 2 time, but i think u already know that. VQ
James B More than 1 year ago
and don't forget about the GII $750k WV Derby being run next weekend. So you really have four races at 1 1/8 restricted to 3 years olds within in the span of 6 days.
dollarbill More than 1 year ago
Mike, Nice call on Blinkers off on Wow Wow Wow. Hope you hit the tri.
Hoss More than 1 year ago
The Spa has so many greats that appear as two year olds and return to win prestigious races for older horses. When I think of great horses and Saratoga, the name Curlin would not be on the tip of my tongue. How did they come up with that one?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hey Mike : when do you really understand that racing isn't about racing all the time now ! . It's about politics and the all mighty dollar. Race tracks makes millions on weekend racing and the public will accommodate cause the horses are exciting and the tracks makes dollars for there time ! . Sincerely, DJC III Horseman for real !
dennis More than 1 year ago
Why do we need another race for 3 year olds in the first place? Why can't the Curlin be for 3 and up?
jaygee More than 1 year ago
I couldn't agree with you more Mike. I enjoy your fri go around with Matt Carothers on TVG. I'm pumped just what DRF needed another blog, I look forwarded to commenting in the future.