Jim Dandy Stakes 2021 Entries: The return of EQ

Luis Saez Essential Quality Belmont Stakes 2021

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The Grade II Jim Dandy Stakes has attracted a small field of six and one of those six is a Goalith of this year-group. Neil Monnery isn't really sure anybody will stop Essential Quality winning but let's have a look at the runners anyway...

Jim Dandy Stakes 2021 Entries & Post Positions
  • Post Position
  • Horse

Post Position

  • 1.
  • 2.
  • 3.
  • 4.
  • 5.
  • 6.

Horse

  • Dr Jack
  • Masqueparade
  • Weyburn
  • Keepmeinmind
  • Essential Quality
  • Risk Taking

When I gave myself the Jim Dandy to do the overview for early in the week when setting up our content plans, I didn’t really consider that it would for all intents and purposes be a one horse race. Yet here we are with one overwhelming favorite and a bunch of other guys who could on their day challenge Essential Quality - if the Brad Cox trained three-year-old is significantly down on his best.

Obviously that is where we have to start. If you are new to the sport of Horse Racing then welcome. If you are not then you know all about EQ. Winner of the Belmont Stakes who already has three Grade I wins to his name with his only failure being the Kentucky Derby, where he got a terrible trip, was out wide for both turns and still nearly chased down Medina Spirit and Mandaloun. One of whom will be declared the winner in the history books. Which one, well the courts will probably decide.

Back to EQ, there was only one other three-year-old on his level in the early part of 2021 and that was the (at that point) Bob Baffert trained Life is Good. That Into Mischief colt was taken off the Kentucky Derby trail due to an injury to his left hind ankle. Since then he’s been moved to Todd Pletcher’s barn following the Bob Baffert drug saga that has engulfed the sport and could return either for the H. Allen Jerkens at Saratoga or the Smarty Jones over at Parx Racing. He is the only one of Essential Quality’s peers who I think can go stride for stride with him when at 100%, so if he’s not in the race, it’ll need something drastic to defeat him.

Weyburn is the horse most likely to cause the big upset and he lost last time out by a neck to Mandaloun. That result is what you’d classify as a good loss to a fine horse. He was extremely game that afternoon over at Monmouth to show that the Jimmy Jerkens three-year-old has plenty of heart. With little early speed in the race he is likely to go out and lead the pack. Not sure if this will be to his advantage as Essential Quality has won races from the front, whilst stalking the leader and rallying from deep in the pack.

I picked Masqueparade to win the Ohio Derby and thought I’d found some great value in a competitive field. By the time the race got under way, he went off as the favorite. We need fixed odds to come in sooner rather than later! Anyway he’s been entered here and whilst I am a pretty big fan, that victory to me didn’t feel like the start of a late run to win big races as a three-year-old. The step-up in class is immense. I wouldn’t rule him out but if he’s within six lengths of EQ at the finish then I wouldn’t be upset if I were his connections.

Robertino Diodoro keeps sending Keepmeinmind to quality fields and he keeps on earning his connections decent payouts, if not trips to the winner’s circle. In 2021 he’s finished 7th, 6th, 5th, 4th and 3rd in his five starts. Was part of a close four-way finish at the aforementioned Ohio Derby and could steal a second here on a good day.

Dr Jack and Risk Taking round out the field of six.

Our turf-man is covering the action at Saratoga this week so check out his preview of the race on Saturday but the value won’t be in the single pools as EQ will be the horse everyone will bet on. I’m sure he'll have an exacta or trifecta for you that will be a more value play...

Saratoga Picks, Entries and Results

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