07/23/2011 4:15PM

Saratoga: Brilliant Speed, Alternation tune up for Jim Dandy

Tom Keyser
Brilliant Speed works five furlongs at Saratoga Saturday. He is pointing to next Saturday's Jim Dandy Stakes.

Travers hopeful Brilliant Speed will race next weekend in Saturday’s Grade 2 Jim Dandy. Brilliant Speed, trained by Tom Albertrani, has not started since finishing third in the Belmont Stakes.

Brilliant Speed got in his final prep for the Jim Dandy here on Saturday morning, going five furlongs in 1:02.56 immediately after the renovation break. Brilliant Speed posted splits of 12.91, 25.26, and 37.66 seconds before galloping out six furlongs in 1:16.46 over a track rated fast but dulled a bit by overnight rain.

“He worked well, did it easy,” said Albertrani. “He’s coming up to the race just the way we like. We trained him lightly for a couple of weeks after the Belmont to get his batteries a little recharged coming up to this meet and hopefully he’ll be able to jump forward off this race to the Travers.”

Albertrani said pace could become an issue, especially if the Jim Dandy field were to come up light.

“He probably took back a little further than he needed to be in the Derby,” said Albertrani. “Johnny [Velazquez] will be back on this time and he seemed to keep him more forwardly placed when he rode him.”

Brilliant Speed will likely face six others in the Jim Dandy – Alternation, Dominus, Moonshine Mullin, Scotus, Stay Thirsty, and Tech Fall.

Alternation gets feel for track

Peter Pan Stakes winner Alternation got his first feel for Saratoga’s main track Saturday morning, breezing five furlongs in 1:01.70 in preparation for the Jim Dandy.

Under jockey Ramon Dominguez, Alternation went in fractions of 12.98 seconds, 25.86, 37.58, getting his final quarter in 24.12. He did drift out a little bit in his gallop, which was clocked in 1:15.81.

“He drifted just a little bit, that’s just part of him,” trainer Donnie Von Hemel said afterward. “Ramon said he wasn’t concerned about it. I asked him the same thing and he said it’s not a big deal.”

After Von Hemel decided to skip the Belmont Stakes to concentrate on the Jim Dandy and Travers, Alternation had been working steadily over the synthetic surface at Arlington before shipping here on July 18. Alternation had a couple of fast works at Arlington that were done in company. On Saturday, he breezed by himself.

“He’s worked easy when he’s worked by himself, when you put him in company he’s picked up the pace and done what we wanted to,” Von Hemel said. “In those works that were faster we gave him a little company to run at or a little company to break with. He responds when you want him to do more like that.”

Von Hemel brought five horses to Saratoga, including Ohio Derby winner Caleb’s Posse, who will be turned back to sprint distances starting with the Grade 2, $150,000 Amsterdam Stakes here going 6 1/2 furlongs on Aug. 1.

“I think his future as an older horse is going to be sprinting,” Von Hemel said.

- additionala reporting by Mike Welsch