by Keith McCalmont
Godolphin Stable’s Mystic Guide, expertly piloted by Jose Ortiz, made a last-to-first run to capture Saturday’s Grade 2, $150,000 Jim Dandy for sophomores going nine furlongs at Saratoga Race Course.
The 57th running of the Jim Dandy was one of four graded stakes on the final Saturday of the Saratoga summer meet, joining the Grade 2, $200,000 Prioress for 3-year-old fillies; the Grade 2, $200,000 Glens Falls for older fillies and mares going 1 3/8 miles on turf; and the Grade 1, $500,000 Woodward for 3-year-olds and up contested at 1 1/4 miles.
Despite the addition of blinkers following a third-place finish in the Grade 3 Peter Pan last out, Mystic Guide raced from the back of the six-horse field as Celtic Striker and First Line battled through opening splits of 23.37 and 47.61 seconds on the fast main track.
Jesus’ Team, racing in third position down the backstretch under Luis Saez, made an inside rush approaching the far turn as Mystic Guide began to stir with Liveyourbeastlife, piloted by Junior Alvarado, angling six-wide for the stretch run.
Jesus’ Team and Mystic Guide took over as the field straightened away at the top of the lane, with the latter continuing to find separation with Liveyourbeastlife ranging into contention. But there was no reeling in Mystic Guide, who secured the three-quarter length win in a final time of 1:49 flat.