07/30/2016 7:00PM

Longshot Laoban leads start to finish in Jim Dandy Stakes

Barbara D. Livingston
Laoban wins the Jim Dandy on Saturday.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Trainer Eric Guillot, the court jester of the backstretch, had the last laugh in Saturday’s Grade 2, $600,000 Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga.

Guillot won the Jim Dandy with the maiden Laoban, the longest shot on the board at 27-1, who led from start to finish under Jose Ortiz and won by 1 1/4 lengths.

Governor Malibu, the New York-bred who ran fourth in the Belmont Stakes, rallied along the inside to get second by a neck over Belmont Stakes runner-up Destin. It was 4 1/4 lengths back to Mohaymen, the 7-5 favorite who stumbled at the start. He was followed by Race Me Home and Creator, the Belmont Stakes winner who ran last throughout.

Guillot had taken shots with Laoban before, running him in five graded stakes before this, including the Preakness, where he finished sixth, 12 lengths behind Exaggerator. He did finish second in the Grade 2 Gotham at Aqueduct and third in the Grade 3 Sham at Santa Anita.

Guillot initially was going to Laoban in a maiden race here, but altered course when he was told by New York Racing Association officials the Jim Dandy was coming up a short field.

“They told me who was in there. I said, 'All the speed is across town in the Haskell,’ ” said Guillot, who trains Laoban for Mike Moreno’s Southern Equine Stable and McCormick Racing. “I said you know what? I’m going to take a shot. He’s doing good.

“My partner and I don’t dance to elevator music,” Guillot added. “We dance to Zydeco. Who wants to run in a maiden? He’s multiple graded-stakes placed. I can break his maiden any time I want.”

Laoban’s weapon has always been his speed, but he had difficulty rationing it out properly. Saturday, under Jose Oritz, Laoban made the lead rather easily, maintaining a one-length advantage through a quarter in 24.56 seconds and a half-mile in 49.07 while being chased by Destin.

Mohaymen, making his first start since the Kentucky Derby, stumbled at the start under Junior Alvarado, but quickly recovered and was third early. Alvarado said he did not think the stumble mattered or cost him a position.

Laoban continued to cruise on the lead approaching the quarter pole and turned for home 1 1/2 lengths in front. Destin wasn’t going on, but Governor Malibu was attempting to rally along the rail.

Joel Rosario guided Governor Malibu off the rail at the sixteenth pole, but he and Destin both just finished evenly as Laoban kept going.
Laoban, a son of Uncle Mo, covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.39 and returned $56 to win.

“When he broke and I saw nobody put a lot of pressure on me I knew the horse was fit enough to go in this race,” Ortiz said. “On the backside they let me go easier. By the three-eighths pole I could hear they’re already smooching and I’m just waiting. When I asked him to go right before the quarter pole he responded very well.”

The biggest mishap for Ortiz was galloping back to the winner’s circle when Laoban stumbled and unseated Ortiz. The horse continued back to the winner’s circle, where he was easily corralled. Ortiz got a ride back from the ambulance; he had a cut on his elbow, and a bruised ego perhaps.

Aside from Governor Malibu, who ran a solid race, the other connections of Laoban’s vanquished were left to scratch their heads. Destin seemed to be in a good position early on under Javier Castellano, but just ran evenly and lost second by a neck to Governor Malibu.

“We got the trip we wanted,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “Javier said he just feels like he’s still a little unfocused, just kind of eyeballing that horse in front of him and, when Governor Malibu came, then he dug back in. He saw the [tire] tracks, then he went back to his left lead, like he’s still figuring it out a little bit."

Alvarado said turning for home Mohaymen was “coming steady, but he didn’t feel to me he was the same horse. I can’t really figure it out right now.”

Steve Asmussen, the trainer of Belmont Stakes winner Creator, was compromised by a pedestrian pace.

“They went into the first turn in a canter,” Asmussen said. “A very oddly run race.”

The top three finishers from the Jim Dandy are all likely to come back in the Travers, along with Creator as well as Curlin Stakes 1-2 finishers Connect and Gift Box.


Ronald Dodgen More than 1 year ago
23.39 turn time nice, with a 23.64 4th quarter for 47.03 4 furlong run nice, and a 12.29 last 8th. Uncontested speed is dangerous. 
Chuck Seddio More than 1 year ago
got to hand it to ortiz,that kid can ride,win a g2 on a maiden? wow this kid has some future and he is only 23 and 1k victories plus allready. his rise to the top kinda reminds me of another kid,the kid as termed by pete axthelm steve cauthen,cauthens problem was he grew and went to ride overseas,this kid will be here for a while and it is a pleasure to watch him and his bro on the ny ckt.
Bruce Battaglia More than 1 year ago
heres my take. Lone speed is always dangerous. So many horses go wire to wire.Live and learn.
jor689 More than 1 year ago
i was told that Laoban was the horse to bet on by an insider.  shoulda, woulda, coulda
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
Here's  my take . There are big pools at Saratoga and New York jockeys can't resist a little nonsense. Like assmussen  said an oddly run race. So they were going to a maiden race and then won in a field with a Belmont winner.and other graded stakes winners.
Wonderagain More than 1 year ago
From Pletcher's comments during the week, I expected Destin to step up to the "next level." Instead it was Guillot's Laoban taking a huge step up after tiring in the stretch in most races he'd run. I'm not sure Destin and Governor Malibu didn't run their race as Laoban was just a different racehorse yesterday. After NYRA's Maggie Wolfendale noted Laoban's changed appearance on the FoxSports2 broadcast as the horses approached the gate and since he did look huge and "on the muscle," I checked Laoban's pp's again. He'd tired every time including "weakening late" last out in the Dwyer and at shorter distances. Laoban certainly didn't get tired yesterday on Saratoga's demanding dirt course. Ay yah!
Mark Gastineau More than 1 year ago
Workouts mean something, only to Trainers....
Richard Kennedy More than 1 year ago
Completely ignored LAOBAN'S 46 2/5 Best of 86 work. Ignored Eric THE  SARGE Guillot also. Went for a bit of a price on creator. Have to remember to put The Sarge in the same league as Dallas Stewart.
ProXstream Gaming More than 1 year ago
I'm still trying to figure out WHY I told friends all week that Laoban was the only speed, and that he would have an easy lead and a chance to win.........and then DIDN'T bet him !!!  I played who I thought was simply the best talent in the race, Creator, and look what that got me.  
Carol Rutz More than 1 year ago
I was poring the Creator/Belmont issue of Blood Horse, where they had the picture analysis.  I saw that Creator excelled in the Belmont due to distance and had more time to close.  The Governor did his best but got stuck in traffic.  Destin did very good and I had an exacta on Governor and Destin.  Then Laoban happened.  However, I cannot be mad at a horse who broke his maiden...in a stakes named for a longshot.