Updated on 09/17/2011 3:14PM

Purge an easy winner in Jim Dandy

Purge, ridden by John Velazquez, wins the $500,000 Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga on Sunday.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - The second-guessing can end. The second season can start. After being rushed into the Belmont Stakes in June, Purge was given a break to point for the summer races for 3-year-olds at Saratoga. He began his quest for the Travers Stakes on Sunday, with an emphatic victory in the $500,000 .

An announced crowd of 62,816 - no doubt swelled by patrons who went through the turnstiles multiple times to stock up on free T-shirts - saw Purge emerge as one of the leading contenders for the Aug. 28 Travers Stakes. He busted the race open on the far turn, had a seven-length lead at mid-stretch, and cruised home 4 1/2 lengths best under jockey John Velazquez.

The Cliff's Edge, the 8-5 favorite, rallied strongly from last in the six-horse field to finish second. Eddington crossed the wire third, but was disqualified to fourth for colliding into Niigon at the top of the stretch. Medallist, the early pacesetter, faded to finish fifth, and Courageous Act trailed. Swingforthefences was scratched in favor of Sunday's Haskell Invitational at Monmouth.

Medallist, starting from the rail, flew out of the gate and set fractions of 23.09 seconds, 45.73 seconds, and 1:09.64 for the first six furlongs. Purge sat second behind him for the first five furlongs before moving boldly to rush past Medallist just after six furlongs were completed.

Purge ($7.60) passed the mile mark in 1:34.66, and completed 1 1/8 miles on the fast main track in 1:47.56, equaling the second-fastest Jim Dandy Stakes. The stakes record is the 1:47.20 recorded by Louis Quatorze in 1996.

"We felt like it was an advantage for us with Medallist in the race because this horse seems to relax more when there's a target," said Todd Pletcher, who trains Purge. "All of his victories have been when he's had someone to track."

Purge's best effort prior to the Jim Dandy had been his victory in the Peter Pan Stakes on May 22. Because of that race, Pletcher and co-owner Jack Wolf decided to run back 14 days later in the Belmont. But Purge became unraveled going to the paddock, then stopped badly after only a half-mile and finished last.

"He was much more relaxed in the race. And he was much more relaxed coming over to the paddock," said Wolf, who owns Purge with his wife, Laurie. They race as Starlight Stables. Their partners in Purge are Paul Saylor and Johns Martin.