Tacitus, War of Will Highlight Field for Saturday’s Grade II Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga

Posted on: July 26, 2019, 11:59h. 

Last updated on: July 27, 2019, 12:04h.

Saturday’s Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga Race Course doesn’t feature a deep field in size, but the Grade II prep for next month’s Travers Stakes features a couple of 3-year-old who had success leading up to and during the Triple Crown races.

War of Will, seen here winning the Preakness Stakes in May, hopes to return to the winner’s circle Saturday in the Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga. (Image: NBC Sports)

Tacitus enters at the morning line 7-5 favorite for the 1-1/8th mile race. The Bill Mott-trained horse was placed third in the Grade I Kentucky Derby, and a month later, he finished second in the Grade I Belmont Stakes, his last race.

New York tracks have been especially good for Tacitus. He broke his maiden last year at Aqueduct, where he also won the Grade II Wood Memorial leading up to the Derby. Now, he looks to give Mott his fourth Jim Dandy winner.

His works have been very steady,” Mott said. “They’ve been very similar to what they’ve been all spring. He’s good going 9-to-10 furlongs. It looked like he could be good up to a mile and a half, but he can still be effective at a mile an eighth.”

In the six-horse field, Tacitus will break from the fifth gate with Jose Ortiz on the mount.

War of Will Seeks Rebound

War of Will also comes off the Belmont, where he finished a disappointing ninth as he faded in the final quarter-mile of the 1-1/2-mile race. However, unlike Tacitus, he ran in all three Triple Crown races. He won the Grade I Preakness Stakes after finishing seventh in the Derby, where he got bumped by Maximum Security in the final turn and lost ground.

The Mark Casse-trained colt has won three of his six races this year, and all of them have been graded stakes. The shorter distance should work in his favor as he’s won races at 1-1/16th and 1-3/16th miles.

“We’re ready and hopefully he brings his ‘A’ game,” Casse said. “They still have to beat him, I think.”

Tyler Gaffalione gets the call for War of Will, who breaks from the outside gate Saturday with morning line odds of 5-2. He’ll also carry 124 pounds, the most of any horse in the race and two more than Tacitus.

The Rest of the Field

War of Will is the oddsmakers third choice on Saturday. The second choice is Global Campaign at 2-1. He won his last race the Grade III Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont on May 11. The Stanley Hough-trained colt is lightly raced. The Jim Dandy marks just his fifth race, but he’s won three of his previous four starts.

Luis Saez gets the ride, and Global Campaign, who will carry 120 pounds, will break from the fourth gate.

Tax, ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., also comes off the Belmont, where he finished fourth. The Danny Gargan-trained colt had finished in the money five times in his seven career starts, but he has just one win this year –the Grade III Withers Stakes at Aqueduct back in February.

With morning line odds of 8-1, Tax starts from the second gate and will also carry 120 pounds.

Like War of Will, Laughing Fox has won three of his six races as a 3-year-old. Unlike War of Will, none have been a graded stakes race. The Steve Asmussen-trained colt has yet to place in the money in any graded stakes race.

Laughing Fox, ridden by Ricardo Santana Jr., starts from the inside gate and has morning line odds of 15-1.

Also at 15-1 is Mihos. The James Jerkens-trained colt has two wins in five career starts, but he still seeks his first stakes win. Junior Alvarado will ride Mihos, who breaks from the third gate.

Both Laughing Fox and Mihos will carry 118 pounds.

Post time for the Jim Dandy is 6:51 pm ET and will be broadcast on Fox Sports 2.