2021 Jim Dandy Saratoga Predictions, Betting Odds, Picks

Jim Dandy Saratoga 2021

If you're playing only to win, go with my top pick Weyburn (5/1)

Jim Dandy Predictions, Post Position and Odds

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

PP Horse Odds Jockey Trainer
1 DR JACK 12/1
Jockey Trainer
J Ortiz T Pletcher
M Mena J Jerkens
J Rosario R Diodoro
L Saez B Cox
M Franco C Brown

The Eclipse Award winner as 2-year-old champion in 2020, Essential Quality has continued his winning ways this season. Off his most important win to date, the champion son of Tapit comes to the Spa as the big horse in a field of six set for Saturday’s $600,000 Jim Dandy at Saratoga.

A winner of 6-of-7 lifetime, Essential Quality re-established himself as the leader of the division with a convincing win in the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes on June 5. It was a bounce-back effort from his only career loss when he finished a close fourth in the Kentucky Derby. In the Jim Dandy, he will be running at Saratoga for the first time, while looking for his sixth career graded stakes win.

Chief among his competition in the Grade 2, 9 furlong Jim Dandy will be a trio of graded stakes winners in Masqueparade, Weyburn and Keepmeinmind.

Masqueparade is trained by Al Stall, Jr. and is the progressive horse in the group. Most recently the son of Upstart proved best in the Grade 3 Ohio Derby at Thistledown. Finishing fast in third that day was Keepmeinmind, who also rallied for fourth in the Preakness the race before that. Weyburn upset the Grade 3 Gotham at odds of 46/1 three starts back, and comes in off a strong runner-up effort last time.

Best Bets for the Jim Dandy

Here are my plays ($42 in total)

$20 Exacta – Weyburn over Essential Quality = $20

$5 Exacta Part Wheel – Weyburn over Masqueparade and Keepmeinmind = $10

$2 Trifecta Part Wheel – Weyburn over Essential Quality and Masqueparade over Essential Quality, Masqueparade, Keepmeinmind and Dr Jack = $12

If you’re playing only to win, go with my top pick Weyburn (5/1).

How to Watch the Jim Dandy

JIm Dandy Race Information

What Jim Dandy (Grade 2)
Location Saratoga
Time Saturday, July 31 — 5:39pm Eastern time
How to Watch Fox Sports 1
Purse $600,000

Race Analysis

Essential Quality

The once-beaten champion returns after a triumphant performance in the final leg of the Triple Crown. His Belmont Stakes win was his finest performance yet in a career of strong performances. He will be an overwhelming favorite in Saturday’s major prep for the Grade 1 Travers, but this once may not be a foregone conclusion for the Brad Cox trained son of Tapit.

The start between the 12 furlong Belmont and the 10 furlong Travers can be a tricky proposition, especially if there is lone speed in the race. Coming out of the marathon, I would not at all be surprised to see him just a little slow to make his move. Clearly, he is the one to beat, but at prohibitive odds, I will take a shot to beat him.


This son of Upstart took a while to put it all together, but he earned a breakthrough win last time for trainer Al Stall, Jr. in the Grade 3 Ohio Derby. The professional victory in his stakes debut followed a runaway score in an allowance race on Kentucky Derby afternoon. In both wins he was able to stalk and pounce, which looks to be what will be attempted again at Saratoga. This up and comer faces another step up in class on Saturday, but his last two efforts make him a threat in his biggest test yet.


The speed of the race comes into the Jim Dandy off a strong effort when a game second behind Mandaloun in the Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth Park. Off that fine prep, he comes to Saratoga as the only horse in the race who truly likes to have the lead early. There is no doubt that horses like Essential Quality and Masqueparade will make a run at him, but I see this as an excellent spot for the upset winner of the Gotham to be awfully tough to catch if given any sort of early breather on the lead. If he is ever going to beat the champion, this looks to be the race to do it. He is the pick to upset Essential Quality.


This confirmed stretch runner has been running against good horses for his entire career, and the Jim Dandy will mark his ninth consecutive start in graded stakes. While he has often closed into the picture, he has only actually finished first once. Once again, this looks like a spot where he is unlikely to pass them all. He is much more likely to be the one passing horses down the lane to fill out the exacta. Having said, he does seem to be rounding into form, and if everything breaks just right, he has a shot.

Dr Jack

This lightly raced son of Pioneerof the Nile got his first taste of graded stakes racing last month when he finished third behind Mandaloun and Weyburn in Monmouth’s Pegasus Stakes. Trained by Todd Pletcher, he will need to improve to become a major threat on Saturday, but with that being only his third lifetime start, he is eligible to do so. He has tactical speed like the favorite, so he’ll be chasing Weyburn early. He is not out of it, but I prefer others.

Risk Taking

After rallying to win the Grade 3 Withers earlier this year against a lesser group, this Chad Brown trainee has failed in two tries against strong competition. Perhaps he can get his mojo back at the Spa, but his efforts in both the Wood Memorial and Preakness do not inspire confidence. I am looking elsewhere.

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Brian Zipse

Expert on Horse Racing

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]