Horse racing's summer season is underway with three-year-old stakes action in Saratoga Springs, New York and Oceanport, New Jersey. That's a far cry from Louisville, Kentucky, but many of the horses running in this weekend's featured stakes races at Saratoga Race Course in New York and Monmouth Park in New Jersey became household names the first week in May when all eyes centered on Louisville for the Kentucky Derby.
We'll have to wait to see Kentucky Derby winner Orb make his summer return. After a freshening at Fair Hill Equine Therapy Center in Maryland, he's begun working toward a run in the Grade 1 Travers Stakes (Saratoga Aug. 24).
The Preakness winner and sixth-place Kentucky Derby finisher, Oxbow, will go after the Grade 1 William Hill Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park on Sunday. Palace Malice, who set a blazing pace early in the Kentucky Derby only to finish 12th, but redeemed himself and his sire, Curlin, when he won the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes in June, will attempt the Grade 2 Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga on Saturday. An analysis of the Jim Dandy follows. Click here for Haskell analysis.
Installed as the morning-line favorite in the 10-horse field for Saturday's Grade 2 $600,000 Jim Dandy, Todd Pletcher's Palace Malice should be able to sit comfortably just behind the speed duel likely to set up between the front-running Dwyer winner, Moreno, and Peter Pan winner, Freedom Child. This pair should be no contest for the talented Palace Malice who, if like his father, should continue to improve as he gets older. It doesn’t hurt that Palace Malice broke his maiden last August at Saratoga.