SARAT0GA SPRINGS, N.Y. >> Two-time Kentucky Derby winning trainer Doug O’Neill has sure added some intrigue to Saturday’s Grade 2 Jim Dandy Stakes.
He will saddle Reddam Racing Stable’s Pavel in the $600,000 race at 1 1/8 miles, which serves as the main prep for the Travers Stakes at this meeting.
Pavel’s resume consists of a debut victory at 6 ½ furlongs, a mere four weeks ago at Santa Anita.
That’s it, as he faces Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming and Preakness Stakes winner Cloud Computing in the Jim Dandy.
Mario Gutierrez returns aboard the son of Creative Cause.
“We knew he had ability and he had some shin issues, so we just decided not to rush him at two,” said O’Neill. “Mr. and Mrs. Reddam really get credit for allowing him to mature.”
Pavel was unveiled on July 1 at the California track, backed at 7-to-1 in a field of nine.
After a short battle for the lead, he cruised home by 4 ½ lengths in a swift 1:15 2/5 for the distance.
“It was incredible what he did, really,” said O’Neill. “He beat a quality field and he showed his tons of ability.”
Pavel makes a huge move up the class ladder in the Jim Dandy.
“We did not necessarily think about the Jim Dandy that day,” explained O’Neill. “We knew it was a ‘wow’ performance and we just wanted to take some time to let it sink it. We saw how good his energy level was soon after, so we started to look for races at two turns.”
O’Neill has trained Derby winners I’ll Have Another and Nyquist, respectively, in 2012 and 2016, and has won…
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