The Jim Dandy has long served as a prep race for the Midsummer Derby, the Traver’s Stakes. Being that it is run over the same track (Saratoga) as the Travers, it may come as a surprise that the Jim Dandy-Travers double is actually quite a difficult task to accomplish.
Since the Jim Dandy was inaugurated in 1969, only ten horses have pulled the double. That is forty-six years and only ten horses! This means that 78 percent of the time the Travers is won by a horse that did not race in the Jim Dandy.
Oddly enough, despite the lack of winning performances by Jim Dandy runners, they still do end up running quite well in the Travers. Since 1991, 12 horses have finished in the top three in the Travers Stakes after winning the Jim Dandy, which comes out to 48 percent.
Consider this to be a good betting angle down the road.
What about horses who don’t win the Jim Dandy? How do they fair in the Travers, you may ask? Well, since 1991, 13 Travers winners have finished in the top four of the Jim Dandy. This includes the seven horses to pull off the double.
While the Jim Dandy is arguably the most popular prep, horses that have used other races to ready themselves for the Travers have also experienced good success.
In the 25 years that have passed since 1991, 12 horses won the Travers Stakes without competing in the Jim Dandy. Most recently, Keen Ice did so, being the only horse in 2015 to defeat American Pharoah. With nearly half of all Travers winners not competing in the Jim Dandy, the path to winning a Travers seems pretty divided.
While horses certainly do not have to compete in the Jim Dandy to win the Travers Stakes, the prep holds a slightly greater winning record than not using the race as a prep.