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Tenfold wins the Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga

July 29, 2018

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (AP) — Tenfold apparently likes to see himself on television.

Distracted at the top of the stretch by the infield television and drifting far to the right as he challenged for the lead, Tenfold recovered nicely under jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. and held off Flameway by three-quarters of a length on Saturday to win the 55th running of the Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga Race Course.

“Going for home, he opened up. There was plenty in the tank,” said Santana, who kept Tenfold near the lead all the way. “He watched the TV, and when he watches TV, he gets a little scared. He tried to go out, but I controlled him.

Tenfold has displayed talent before, running third in the Preakness with a strong close to pace-setting Triple Crown winner Justify in the late stretch. The son of Curlin, who did not race as a 2-year-old, also finished fifth in the Belmont Stakes but was never a factor. He won his first two races of the year at Oaklawn.

“It’s a big step forward. This is the type of horse we thought we’d have for the Belmont,” winning trainer Steve Asmussen said. “He was away cleanly today. He’s got a big rhythm. He’s a horse that is capable of being fast.”

Tenfold covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.49 over a fast track and paid $5.50, $2.80 and $2.30. Flameaway returned $3.90 and $2.70, and even-money favorite Vino Rosso paid $2.10 to show, edged by a head for second.

Reride, also trained by Asmussen, was fourth and D. Wayne Lukas-trained Sporting Chance last after swinging wide at the top of the stretch and pulling up.

Vino Rosso was making his eighth career start and first at Saratoga for trainer Todd Pletcher. The chestnut son of Curlin broke cleanly from the fifth gate but lagged at the start and trailed at the half-mile pole by 11 lengths before staging a strong rally down the stretch.

“We’ve seen this performance before, said Mike Repole, owner of Vino Rosso. “When he puts an effort into it, he makes up ground. He made up probably 10 lengths in less than a quarter mile. The biggest key now, if we decide to go to the Travers, is to get him to run 100 percent of the race and not 50 percent.”

Despite its $600,000 purse, the Grade 2 Jim Dandy drew just five entrants for the second straight year. The Jim Dandy is a major prep for the $1.25 million Travers Stakes, a 1 1/4-mile race for 3-year-olds slated for Aug. 25 at Saratoga.

Tenfold will be in the mix.

“That’s what we were trying to get to with this race here today,” Asmussen said. “Obviously, I’m glad we ran him over this racetrack because he does find something new all the time. Ricardo said that when he moved away ... and (Tenfold) got a view of the screen in the infield, he said he couldn’t get him to quit looking at it.”

With Justify no longer in the 3-year-old picture — he was retired on Wednesday — the division is wide open. Although Tenfold notched an important victory, Asmussen knows there’s much work to do.

“He’s got a tremendous amount of talent,” Asmussen said. “He has lost concentration. Ironically, he has jumped back to his left lead and laid in in his previous races. For him to do that today is obviously concerning, but he still won the race.

“When he realizes how good he actually is, maybe he’ll take it seriously.”

Saturday’s card had three other graded stakes: Promises Fulfulled outran Engage down the stretch to win the $200,000 Grade III Amsterdam Stakes at 6 1/2 furlongs; Imperial Hint ran surged ahead at the top of the stretch and beat Warrior’s Club by 3 ¾ lengths to win the 34th running of the Grade I $350,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap at 6 furlongs, his third win in four starts this year; and Channel Maker caught Glorious Empire at the wire in a dead heat for the win in the 60th running of the Grade 2 $250,000 Bowling Green Stakes at 1 3/8 miles on the inner turf course, which was rated as soft.

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