2022 Jim Dandy Stakes Cheatsheet
By TwinSpires Editorial Team, Sponsored Content

By Vance Hanson (TwinSpires.com)

1. WESTERN RIVER (20-1) – Would have been hard to make a case for him from a class perspective in this spot, but reportedly running Friday in the Curlin S. instead of in this spot; an expected scratch.

2. EPICENTER (3-2) – Relatively unlucky as the beaten favorite in both the Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness (G1), moving to soon into a record hot pace at Churchill and then enduring a rough trip at Pimlico; arguably best in the former, though we can’t say for certainty the same was the case in the latter; gem of consistency can win from just about anywhere, and in a five-horse field trip will be important; only reservation is that his career thus far is reminiscent of Gun Runner’s; that horse ran well but was winless during a long stretch of his three-year-old campaign before turning it up several notches as an older horse; one to fear, but a tad hard to latch onto if the chalk.

3. TAWNY PORT (8-1) – Sandwiched in between wins in the Lexington (G3) and Ohio Derby (G3) was a better-than-expected seventh-place run in the Kentucky Derby; although likely a better horse since meeting Epicenter and Zandon twice earlier in the season, there’s still that lingering gap between him and those two that gives cause for pause here; the form of the Thistledown race has been mixed, with White Abarrio a no-show in the Haskell (G1) and Classic Causeway a surprise winner of the Belmont Derby (G1) on turf; has form to find against the top three.

4. EARY VOTING (8-5) – Decision to bypass the Kentucky Derby with this colt paid huge dividends with a decisive win in the Preakness; though main rival had an unlucky start and trip, not sure the result would have been different, given this colt’s similar talent level; it will be interesting to see who sits off of whom in this tactical affair, but either way this one figures tough as nails to fend off or run down; giving him the slight edge.

5. ZANDON (2-1) – Freshened since a strong third in the Kentucky Derby in which he couldn’t quite get past Epicenter late despite having not taken the worst of the pace; needs that rival to keep stablemate Early Voting honest for best chance in what figures to be a tactical affair, but signs seem to point to this race being a needed stepping stone for the 10-furlong Travers (G1), the distance of which figures to be more favorable and in his wheelhouse; can’t discount him prevailing if the speed comes back, but guessing top two have the slight edge.