A Fresh Start

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The sun starts to overpower the fading night sky and the birds welcome the start of a new day near the boundary of the main track at Saratoga Race Course and Godolphin’s Greentree Training Center just after 5:30 Friday morning.

A set of three from a nearby barn is already out on Clare Court, riders buzzing around in florescent yellow tops. Greentree’s private grounds are, the only discernible movement coming from horses lazily walking around the sole visible corner of the Kiaran McLaughlin’s shedrow. Just after 5:45, McLaughlin’s first lot emerges from under the trees that tower the Greentree border.

With an in-form stable and pedigrees capable of competing in top-tier stakes around the world, any horse in this set could be the next star but this morning the one to watch is Mohaymen.

The one-time Kentucky Derby favorite and morning-line choice for today’s $600,000 Jim Dandy Stakes is the last to cross the dividing line. He’s a lightly built horse but he’s positive, present and travels like you would think he should, fluidly and with purpose.

Exercise rider Rob Massey is aboard as they wind their way through the barns and approach the main track. The colt is not in a hurry but he’s keen.

Walking onto the main track, Mohaymen strolls a ways and rolls into a nice easy jog that takes him halfway around the track until he was asked to stop and stand. 

There he takes it all in – sizing up the scene. 

The Tapit colt is ready, but not until his rider says go. Professional comes to mind. Mohaymen gallops the same way he walks, gliding smoothly, softly, purposefully. He was on the bridle and keen, well within himself but eager for more.  

To read the rest of the Jim Dandy preview, download Saturday’s digital edition of The Saratoga Special presented by Keeneland.