Alpha, making his first start since a disappointing run in the Kentucky Derby in May, broke sharply from the gate, unleashed soft fractions over the sloppy Saratoga main track and turned back Neck 'n Neck in mid-stretch to win the G2-Jim Dandy. Neck 'n Neck sat in third through the early stages, came wide off the turn but flattened out and couldn't never catch Alpha. Liaison, shipping in from California for Bob Baffert, rounded out the trifecta.
Alpha is a three-year-old colt by Bernardini out of a Nijinsky II mare (Munnaya) owned by Goldolphin, trained by Kiaran McLaughlin and ridden by Ramon Dominguez.
In the race before the Jim Dandy, Winter Memories got a dream trip off of the early pace of Tapitsfly and Law of the Range, powered to the front with a furlong to go and won the Diana by a couple of lengths over Dream Peace (IRE) at the wire. Defending champion Zagora (FR) nipped Tapitsfly at the wire to finish third.
With her win in the Diana, Winter Memories has now won three times from four lifetime starts at Saratoga.
Tapitsfly came into the Diana off of a brilliant performance in the G1-Just A Game on the Belmont Stakes undercard, but she received a lot more pace pressure in the Diana, which when combined with softer ground and extra distance proved to be too much for her to overcome. In her last three races at nine furlongs she has finished 4th, 5th and 12th (the last race was on the Poly at Keeneland).
Below are the payouts, fractions and internal splits for the G1-Diana and G2-Jim Dandy.
|G1-Diana; Turf: GOOD
|4-Dream Peace (IRE)||$6.40||$3.70|
|G2-Jim Dandy; Track: SLOPPY
|4-Neck 'n Neck||$4.50||$4.10|