After the running of the Curlin Stakes, Jim Dandy(G2) and Haskell(G1) this weekend, the three-year-old picture is starting to clear up. With this division lacking a true front runner, these races provided an opportunity for someone to step up to the challenge.
Alpha, returning to the track for the first time since the Derby, took the Jim Dandy impressively, going wire to wire in the slop and winning by 2 lengths. With no other big name three-year-olds in this one it was Alpha's race to lose as the others in this field were just not in the same class.
It was Paynter who showed his second place finish at the Belmont was no fluke as he pulled away from the field in the Haskell to win by 3 3/4 lengths. Gemologist and Dullahan both were in position to challenge, but looked like they hit a brick wall and were no where to be found at the end, finishing 5th and 6th.
Street Life, the son of Street Sense also keeps his name in the mix after taking the Curlin Stakes Friday at Saratoga. He will be running up against more superior competition though, next time out.
Now the focus shifts to the Travers at the end of August to determine who is the best of this class before they graduate on to facing the older competition. Look for the Paynter and Alpha duel to play out in the media leading up to the race as these two will be the favorites heading into the "Midsummer Classic".
*Pegged Street Life in the Curlin and Alpha in the Jim Dandy. Didn't fare so well in the Haskell as Paynter got the win, while Gemologist and Dullahan didn't show up.