SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. --- Belmont Stakes runner-up Fly Down is the favorite for today's $500,000 Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga in a race that serves as a prep for the $1 million Travers on Aug. 28.
While Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver and Preakness winner Lookin At Lucky are running in the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park on Sunday, the 1e-mile Jim Dandy drew a field of nine 3-year-olds, including Dogwood Stable's Aikenite and Spring Hill Farm's A Little Warm, who was broken in Aiken by Ron Stevens.
The Jim Dandy shares top billing today with the $500,000, Grade 1 Diana Handicap, which will be run over the main turf course at 1e miles and drew seven fillies and mares including Forever Together, who will attempt to win the race for an unprecedented third consecutive year.
The Nick Zito-trained Fly Down, who will be ridden by Jose Lezcano, will break from the extreme outside post position in the Jim Dandy. Fly Down has not competed since placing behind Drosselmeyer in the Belmont Stakes and was given a fast half-mile workout Monday.
"He's coming off a 11/2-mile race and you have to do things like that," said Zito, who will also saddle long shot Miner's Reserve in the Jim Dandy. "Obviously, we know his fitness level. We're hoping he's a little sharp for the race. He's a very good horse. He looks good."
Except for Aikenite, who finished 10th of 12 in the Preakness, none of the others named to start raced in the Triple Crown series.
Aikenite, who won an allowance race at Belmont Park in his last start on June 19, will break from the No. 4 post with David Cohen aboard and is listed at 10-1.
A Little Warm will break from the No. 5 post with John R. Velazquez aboard and is listed at 7-2.
Heading into the Diana Handicap, 6-year-old Forever Together has twice finished second this year to a leading turf-course female.
"If you wanted to be harsh, you could criticize her for not having enough punch, but I don't think that's the case," trainer Jonathan Sheppard said. "She's been the victim of pace-less races."