Epicenter wins the Grade 2 Jim Dandy at Saratoga

Sports

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (AP) — Epicenter won a stretch duel with Zandon, Early Voting and Tawny Port in the 59th running of the Grade 2 $600,000 Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga Race Course on Saturday.

Ridden by Joel Rosario, Epicenter — runner-up in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness in his previous two starts — charged along the outside as the small field was bunched together across the track, then pulled away to hold off Zandon by 1 1/2 lengths. Tawny Port was third.

Preakness winner Early Voting, in his first race since that signature triumph at Pimlico in May, set the early pace but was relegated to fourth at the finish. Early Voting had won three of four starts.

Epicenter ran the 1 1/8 miles in 1:48 4/5 and paid $4.20 to win in the traditional Saratoga prep race for the million-dollar Travers Stakes in four weeks.

Rosario was aboard Epicenter in the Triple Crown disappointments. Epicenter closed from the eighth position in both races, finishing three-quarters of a length behind Rich Strike in the Derby and just over a length behind Early Voting in the Preakness.

This time it was his turn for trainer Steve Asmussen, who won the Jim Dandy for the third time — Kensei in 2009 and Tenfold four years ago — and owner Winchell Thoroughbreds. The bay son of Not This Time also outran Zandon in the Grade 2 Risen Star, then won the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby at the Fair Grounds.

Western River, a 20-1 longshot slated to run his second stakes with jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. aboard, was scratched.

In the 38th running of the $350,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt, heavily favored Jackie’s Warrior won his fourth straight race and captured his fifth career Grade 1 victory, pulling away down the stretch to easily beat Kneedeepinsnow and Willy Bol.

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