McCormick Racing and Southern Equine Stable’s Laoban posted a shocking upset when leading gate-to-wire to win Saturday’s Grade 2 Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga, winning by just 1 1/4 lengths over a field of talented sophomore contenders. The son of Uncle Mo covered nine furlongs over the fast main track in 1:48.39, proving trainer Eric Guillot’s long-time faith in the maiden runner, before unceremoniously dumping jockey Jose Ortiz on the way back to the winner’s enclosure.
Laoban jumped out of the gates on top as Mohaymen stumbled badly at the start, leaving the Guillot trainee alone on the lead with a one-length advantage over Destin, with Mohaymen relegated to third along the inside. Laoban led through sensible early fractions of :24.56 and :49.07, experiencing brief pressure from Destin before drawing out his lead to 1 1/2 lengths again entering the far turn. Meanwhile, Governor Malibu made a mid-race move up the inside rail to shuffle Mohaymen back to fifth, with Belmont Stakes winner Creator still holding up his customary position in last.
Nearing the head of the lane, both Governor Malibu and Destin had dead aim on the leading Laoban, but neither could make up any ground on him as Ortiz coaxed him home under a strong drive. Governor Malibu tried to move up Laoban’s inside, but his inexperience may have cost him as Ortiz made the gap very tight and Governor Malibu backed out of the hole. Laoban held on cross the wire 1 1/4 lengths in front of Governor Malibu, who fought on to keep his head on front of Destin. Mohaymen rallied to be several lengths back in fourth.
Bred in Kentucky by Respite Farm, Laoban was a $ 260,000 yearling purchase at the Keeneland September Sale. The Jim Dandy is his first career win, though he had previously placed second and third once each in prep races along the Kentucky Derby trail. Guillot has been high on the horse all along, even after a disappointing sixth-place finish in the Preakness, but the colt came back to prove his faith justified in the Jim Dandy. The win boosts Laoban’s career earnings to over $ 520,000 from eight starts.
Watch the race replay here:
New to the Paulick Report? Click here to sign up for our daily email newsletter to keep up on this and other stories happening in the Thoroughbred industry.
Copyright © 2016 Paulick Report.