American Pharoah Returns! The Jim Dandy Stakes and Haskell Invitational Preview

This coming weekend, there are two key races on the road to the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Saturday August 1st at Saratoga will be the Jim Dandy Stakes with a handful of familiar names from the Kentucky Derby trail. On Sunday August 2nd, American Pharoah makes his first start since winning the Triple Crown in The William Hill Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park. Both races are 1 1/8th mile.

The Jim Dandy Stakes carries a $600,000 purse and has three notable entries in Frosted (2/1), Upstart (3/1) and Texas Red (7/2). Also entered are: Competitive Edge (8/1), Frammento (20/1), Tekton (10/1) and a horse on the rise named Japan (10/1). However, please note that Upstart and Competitive Edge are cross-entered in the Haskell Invitational, so the field could have as few as five horses. Post time will be 5:13 PM CST and the race will be televised on TVG.

Overall, this race is wide-open and I don’t feel good enough about this one to give betting advice. Texas Red has been rehabbing from an injury suffered earlier in the year and he is slowly working his way back to form. Upstart hasn’t raced since the Kentucky Derby. Frosted is best suited for distance races. Too many unknowns, so this is a race to watch but not one to bet on. Last year a $2 Superfecta in a 5 horse field only paid out a measly $69.

The Haskell Invitational carries a $1,750,000 dollar purse and is part of the Breeders’ Cup Classic “Win and You’re In” program. The race winner is assured one of the 14 spots in the $5,000,000 Breeders’ Cup Classic. The race will be aired on NBC and will have an approximate post time of 4:42 PM CST.

American Pharoah will have six challengers and here are the post positions and Morning Line Odds:

1. Upstart – Joe Bravo – 6-1
2. Competitive Edge – Mike Smith 8-1
3. Nonna’s BoySCRATCHED
4. American Pharoah – Victor Espinoza – 1-5
5. Mr. Jordan – Paco Lopez – 15-1
6. Keen Ice – Kent Desormeaux – 12-1
7. Top Clearance – Javier Castellano – 30-1
8. Dontbetwithbruno – TBA –  30-1

Overall, I expect American Pharoah to wire this field. Todd Pletcher has three horses entered: Competitive Edge, Nonna’s Boy and Dontbetwithbruno. (Update: Nonna’s Boy was scratched). I would recommend placing Superfectas keying American Pharoah to win. So I would recommend placing four 10 cent superfectas keying American Pharoah to win: 4 with ALL, with ALL, with ALL. Each would cost $12. And a $1 Superfecta Part Wheel: 4 with 1,5,6, with 1,2,5,6,8, with ALL. This bet would cost $48. Total bet $96. Put $4 on American Pharoah to Place and there is $100.