There were two graded stakes contested at Saratoga Race Course on Saturday afternoon. The crowd of 28,682 enjoyed ideal racing weather, sunny skies and temperatures around 80, with a fast main track and firm turf courses.
The $500,000 Jim Dandy Stakes (G2) for 3-year-olds is the major local prep for the Travers Stakes (G1) on August 28. A field of 8 went to post in this 1 1/8 mile main track feature, with Dwyer (G2) winner Fly Down sent off as the 2-1 favorite off his close second place finish in the Belmont (G1) last out. Also in the field were 5-2 second choice Afleet Express, winner of two straight including the Pegasus (G3) at Monmouth, and 4-1 third choice A Little Warm, winner of an allowance last out at Delaware after finishing second in both the Hutcheson (G2) and the Louisiana Derby (G2).
Miner's Reserve set a quick early pace of 23.32, 46.80, and 1:10.82 while saving ground on the rail around both turns, as A Little Warm stalked him just to his outside. Entering the stretch, jockey John Velazquez asked A Little Warm to challenge and he gained a short lead past the 1/8 pole through a mile in 1:35.11. A Little Warm pulled away in the final furlong to win by 1 3/4 lengths in 1:47.98 over the fast track. It was another 3/4 lengths back to late-running Afleet Express. avorite Fly Down had to check sharply at the 1/8 pole during his rally, finishing 5th beaten 4 1/2 lengths.