Tax scored an upset victory in the Grade 2, $600,000 Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga Race Course in New York on Saturday, holding off a late charge from second-place Tacitus to win the prep for the Grade 1 Travers Stakes, which will be run Aug. 24. It was the inverse result of this year’s Wood Memorial, in which Tacitus defeated Tax.
“You come to Saratoga and that’s what you dream about – the Jim Dandy on the way to the Travers,” Tax co-owner Randy Hill told Horse Racing Nation. “Dreams come true, and he reminded us today.”
The 3-year-old son of Arch, Tax paid $11.00, $4.30 and $2.90. Tacitus returned $2.80 and $2.30, and 2-1 favorite Global Campaign paid $3.20 to show.
Ridden by Irad Ortiz, Tax entered the Jim Dandy as a 9-2 shot and covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.28. Preakness winner War of Will led early but finished fifth as the 5-2 second choice.
Channel Cat captured his first graded stakes victory on Saturday, nearly going wire-to-wire to win the Grade 2, $250,000 Bowling Green Stakes on the inner turf at Saratoga. Ridden by Luis Saez, the four-year-old son of English Channel went off at 13-1 odds and covered the 1 3/8 miles race in 2:14.43.
Channel Cat took the lead before the first turn and fended off a late challenge from second-place Ya Primo for a half-length victory. Channel Maker, the 5-2 favorite, finished fourth.
“We feel like he’s getting better and better,” said Channel Cat trainer Todd Pletcher. “It wasn’t necessarily the strategy to be on the lead, but we did want to get away from the outside post and get a forward position.”
Imperial Hint successfully defended his title in the $350,000, Grade 1 Vanderbilt Stakes at Saratoga on Saturday, ending the seven-race win streak of 1-1 favorite Mitole.
Imperial Hint charged into the lead at the top of the stretch and won by four-and-a-half lengths, breaking the Saratoga track record for a six-furlong race with a time of 1:07.92. Diamond Oops finished second and Mitole third. Ridden by Javier Castellano, Imperial Hint paid $13.60, $6.20 and $3.40.