2023 Vanderbilt Handicap & Jim Dandy Stakes Recap

Two brilliant champions lit up a rainy Saratoga on Saturday, thrilling their fans with last-gasp victories. Sprint king Elite Power stretched his streak to eight when taking the headline 2023 Vanderbilt Handicap by a head while leading sophomore colt Forte bounced back to his best with a gallant rally to snatch the G2 Jim Dandy on the line by a nose.

Breeders Cup Odds

2023 Vanderbilt Handicap

G1, $350,000, 6f dirt, 3yo+

Power maintains elite status

Champions are champions because they get the job done even when it seems as though they can’t, and that is how Elite Power took his winning streak to eight with a stand-up-and-shout victory over hard-case Gunite in the Alfred G. Vanderbilt at Saratoga on Saturday.

Gunite appeared to have the race in the bag when surging clear at the top of the lane, and with an eighth to run, he was three lengths clear and not stopping. But Elite Power is a champion, and the even-money favorite came running, digging all the way down to bedrock to catch Gunite in the last jump and win by a head. Early leader Dean Delivers was third, six and a quarter lengths back.

Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap Handicap Race Video

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The 39th edition of The Vanderbilt was taken by Elite Power #Horseracing #Horseracingtips #Horsesoftiktok #Horses #Horse #FYP #Sports

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“It wasn’t going to be easy, but I trust my horse, and every time I asked him, he responded,” said jockey Irad Ortiz. “He knows where the wire is.”

This was the second G1 score for Elite Power, winner of the 2022 Breeders’ Cup Sprint and reigning champion sprinter, who is unbeaten since winning his maiden. His Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, celebrating his 70th birthday with a marquee winner, will now point him to the G1 Forego back here on August 26.

Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap Race Payouts

HorseWinPlaceShow
1. Elite Power4.202.502.10
2. Gunite2.402.10
3. Dean Delivers2.80

Winning time: 1m 09.22s

Jim Dandy Stakes

G2, $500,000, 1m 1f dirt, 3yo

Forte uses the force

Normal service has been resumed. The top-class Forte returned to the winner’s circle with a hard-fought success in the Jim Dandy, overcoming Saudi Crown and Angel Of Empire in a thrilling finish.

The last couple of months have not been straightforward for last year’s champion juvenile colt, who was scratched from the Kentucky Derby at the last minute and then beaten in the Belmont off a long layoff.

Here, though, the 3-5 favorite put all the bad news behind him, rallying bravely through the slop under Irad Ortiz to grab the money right on the wire, prevailing by a nose from second-choice Saudi Crown, who led everywhere but the line. Angel Of Empire was just a half-length back in third. The stewards looked at potential interference in the stretch but took no action.

2023 Jim Dandy Stakes Race Video

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Forte wins the 2023 Jim Dandy #Horseracing #Horseracingtips #Horsesoftiktok #Horses #Horse #FYP #Sports

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This success gave four-time G1 winner Forte a seven-for-nine count and sent the Todd Pletcher-trained colt back to the top of the hotly contested three-year-old division. He now heads for the G1 Travers, the showpiece of the whole Saratoga meet, on August 26.

Jim Dandy Stakes Race Payouts

HorseWinPlaceShow
1. Forte3.502.902.10
2. Saudi Crown4.102.80
3. Angel Of Empire2.70

Winning time: 1m 49.61s

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