Belmont Stakes (G1) winner Palace Malice is back in action on Saturday, one of ten entered for the $600,000 Jim Dandy (G2) at Aqueduct, a key prep for the $1 million Travers (G1) coming up on Aug. 24.
All three Triple Crown race winners from this spring are pointing toward the Travers, with Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Orb training up to the race, and Preakness (G1) winner Oxbow slated to go on Sunday in the $1 million Haskell Invitational (G1).
The last time three separate horses won Triple Crown races and met up in the Travers came more than three decades ago in 1982.
If Palace Malice and Oxbow come out of their respective races in good order this weekend, it will set the Travers up to be the race of the summer.
And it will be tough to top last year’s running as Alpha and Golden Ticket hit the wire together in a deadheat.
Palace Malice is the 5-2 morning line favorite in the Jim Dandy, which drew four others that ran in at least one Triple Crown race this year.
Mylute, who was fifth in the Kentucky Derby and third in the Preakness, is the 7-2 second choice on the morning line. Will Take Charge (12-1) ran in all three Triple Crown races, his best finish a seventh in the Preakness.
Freedom Child (4-1) was a badly outrun 13th in the Belmont after an eye catching score in the Peter Pan (G2) in his previous outing. Vyjack was 18th in the Derby and eighth in the Belmont. The colt is also entered in Sunday’s Haskell.
While the Jim Dandy has the headliner of the day, the race is actually a Grade 2 and there are two Grade 1 races on the card, the $300,000 Prioress (G1) for three-year-old fillies and the $600,000 Diana (G1) for fillies and mares going 1 1/8 miles on turf.
The Prioress goes off as the fifth race on the card and the Todd Pletcher trained Kauai Katie is the even money favorite on the morning line. She is looking to rebound off just her second loss in her career when she was third in the Acorn (G1) at Belmont Park going a mile.
She stumbled coming out of the gate and was no match for an ultra sharp Midnight Lucky, who won by 6 ¼ lengths. The runner up in the Acorn was Close Hatches, who came back to win the Mother Goose (G1) by 7 ¼ lengths at Belmont Park on June 22.
The filly is perfect in six starts at seven furlongs or less and won both of her starts over the Spa main track last summer and is going to be tough to beat.
Her main foes will be So Many Ways (3-1) who was third in the Iowa Oaks (G3) in her last outing, and Azalea (G3) winner Wildcat Lily (4-1).
The Diana (G1) drew a small field of six and it may get smaller as trainer Chad Brown entered three and it seems likely he may scratch at least one.
Samitar (6-1) raced most recently of the Brown trio, having won the restricted Fairy Garden on July 4. Brown also entered Dream Peace (4-1) and Dayatthespa (6-1).
The Wayne Catalano trained Stephanie’s Kitten is the 8-5 morning line favorite. The filly has won three of her last four starts, taking the Just a Game (G1) in her most recent outing on June 8.
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