Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Sports

Kid Cruz faces test in July 26 Jim Dandy Stakes

His stock has never been higher. His form has never been better.

Kid Cruz is on cruise control.

The 3-year-old Lemon Drop Kid colt is moving to upstate New York, where he is expected to face Belmont Stakes winner Tonalist in the Grade II $600,000 Jim Dandy Stakes on July 26 at Saratoga in Saratoga Springs.

Kid Cruz earned the confidence of his connections after winning the Grade III $200,000 Dwyer Stakes on July 5 at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y. It was the first graded stakes victory for Kid Cruz, and majority owners Steven Brandt and Rick Boylan of St. Pete Beach.

"You know you're in a nice race (Dwyer) because afterwards, (Belmont officials) escorted us up to have a champagne toast with the chairman of the New York Racing Association (David Skorton)," Brandt, 56, said. "When you win a graded stakes, you know that you've got one of the best horses. My goal was to win one, because it adds some significant value to (Kid Cruz)."

The Kentucky bred has won four stakes in his past five outings, the only loss an eighth-place finish to California Chrome in the Preakness Stakes on May 17 at Pimlico in Baltimore. He received an invitation to the Grade I Haskell Invitational on July 27 at Monmouth Park in Oceanport, N.J., but Brandt said the Jim Dandy is more likely, followed by a possible start in the Grade I Travers Stakes on Aug. 23 at Saratoga.

If Kid Cruz continues to shine, Brandt said the Breeders' Cup on Nov. 1 at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., may be in his future under trainer Linda Rice.

"It's remarkable what Linda has been able to do with (Kid Cruz)," Brandt said. "He's very athletic looking, and he's training like he should be."

Kid Cruz ranks 57th this year in earnings at $335,400. He was claimed for $50,000 on Nov. 22 from Black Swan Stable, which maintains an interest in him.

more HORSES: When Tampa Bay Downs resumes its 89th live racing season on Nov. 29 in Oldsmar, it is expected to have more horses to work with after last week's landmark deal giving Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach control of the sport in South Florida. Tampa Bay Downs had to race head-to-head last season against Calder in Miami Gardens and Gulfstream Park. But that won't be the case now after the state approved a lease agreement between the two tracks for Gulfstream Park to take over Calder's racing operations. Gulfstream Park, headed by the Stronach Group of Frank Stronach, will race 190 days in 10 months from December to September. Calder will run 40 days in October and November to meet the state minimum of live dates required for the Churchill Downs-owned facility to keep its casino license. Calder also has discontinued simulcast wagering as it focuses on casino gaming. … Downs jockey Pablo Morales got his 1,000th career win on Wednesday aboard For Scipion at Presque Isle Downs in Erie, Pa.

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