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Image for Brian Zipse Brian Zipse - Updated October 14, 2022

Jim Dandy: There Is a Reason Epicenter Was the Favorite

Jim Dandy Odds and Post Position

Check out our predictions and odds for the 2022 Jim Dandy at Saratoga!

PP Horse TwinSpires Odds Jockey Trainer
R Santana Jr R Brisset
J Rosario S Asmussen
I Ortiz Jr B Cox
J Ortiz C Brown
5 ZANDON 5/2
F Prat C Brown

Jim Dandy Picks and Best Bets

Here are my plays ($60 in total)

$10 Trifecta Key – Epicenter over Early Voting, Zandon and Tawny Port = $60

If you’re playing only to win, go with my top pick Epicenter (8/5).

Pick made on 07/26/2022 at 07:42 PM EST

Check out our Horse Racing Calculator to ensure your bets!

Jim Dandy Saratoga Epicenter Joel Rosario

Having been a tough-luck second in the first two legs of the Triple Crown, Epicenter will look to do one better when he returns to face a pair of talented colts from the Chad Brown barn in Saturday’s Grade 2 Jim Dandy at Saratoga.

A two-time graded stakes winner in New Orleans earlier this season, including the $1 million Louisiana Derby, the Steve Asmussen-trained son of Not This Time was a strong second in both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness as the race favorite.

Standing in his way in the $600,000 Jim Dandy, a traditional prep for next month’s Grade 1 Travers, will be Brown’s two Grade 1 winners, Early Voting and Zandon.

Early Voting skipped the Kentucky Derby after just missing to Mo Donegal in the Grade 2 Wood Memorial. The decision turned out to be a good one, as the son of Gun Runner upset Epicenter in the Grade 1 Preakness.

Zandon, meanwhile, will be making his first start since the first Saturday in May. Two starts back he was an impressive winner of the Grade 1 Blue Grass at Keeneland, before finishing a solid third in the Kentucky Derby.

The son of Upstart has never run a poor race in five career starts, which has been all graded stakes after winning his debut at Belmont Park last fall.

Trainer Brad Cox, having won this race last year with the two-time champion Essential Quality, will look for two in a row in the Jim Dandy when sends out the winner of the Lexington Stakes and Ohio Derby, Tawny Port.

Jim Dandy Predictions and Race Analysis


There is a reason he was the favorite in both of the first two legs of the Triple Crown. Second in both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, it looks like he will get to play a little cat and mouse in the Jim Dandy after losing all chance to stay with Early Voting early last time out.

As the two horses in the race with tactical speed, it very well could come down to which horse is better when the real running begins. And as good as Early Voting has been in his short career, I believe this son of Not This Time is probably just a little bit better.

Less than lucky in either of the first two legs of the Triple Crown, I look for him to turn the tables this time with a good trip in the five-horse field. He is the top pick.

Early Voting

Also away since upsetting Epicenter in the Grade 1 Preakness, this son of Gun Runner looks to take the lead in the division by proving that the Middle Jewel was no fluke. He’s only run four times in his career and he’s run very well each time.

Having said that, he did receive an ideal trip at Pimlico, all alone stalking a leader who wasn’t likely to put up much of a fight. While Epicenter was hindered at the start, this Chad Brown-trained runner was able to take full advantage of the racing luck.

He is certainly capable of winning once again, but I am leaning towards Epicenter in the rematch.


Third in the Kentucky Derby, this son of Upstart has been away the longest out of anyone in the field after skipping the final two legs of the Triple Crown. Training well for Saratoga’s leading trainer, he is likely to come back in good form as he preps for next month’s Travers.

It’s a bit of guesswork which of the three favorites will return the best after not running since the Derby or Preakness, but this one has never turned in a poor performance.

Unlike the other two favorites, though, he lacks tactical speed, so unless Epicenter and Early Voting duel early, he could be at a tactical disadvantage. An obvious player, I expect him to run a good race in his return, without taking down the top prize.

Tawny Port

The winner of the Grade 3 Ohio Derby in his last start, this Brad Cox-trainee has continued to run good races since finishing fifth behind Epicenter and Zandon back in February.

Last time, the two-time graded stakes winner showed a quick burst of speed on the turn to collar a good pair in White Abarrio and Classic Causeway on his way to victory at Thistledown.

Obviously, the top three are very tough but this son of Pioneerof the Nile continues to improve and meets the other three at a time when none of them have raced since the Triple Crown. I honestly do not expect a win on Saturday, but I like his chances to rally into the trifecta.

Western River

The outsider of the five-horse field, this well-bred son of Tapit has only attempted stakes racing once before, and he checked in a well beaten fourth in the Grade 3 Peter Pan back in May. He followed that up with an easy allowance victory going 12 furlongs at Churchill Downs.

While the Rodlphe Brisset-trained gray does have the look of a horse who should improve as he matures, this spot looks a bit over his head at this point of his career.

How to Watch the Jim Dandy

What Jim Dandy (Grade 2)
Location Saratoga
Time Saturday, July 30 — 5:37pm Eastern time
How to Watch Fox Sports
Purse $600,000
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Brian Zipse

226 Articles

Taken to the races at a very young age, Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Professionally, his work has been published on several leading industry sites. Brian served as the Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, where he still writes a regular column and hosts the popular weekly webcast HorseCenter.

Email: [email protected]

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