VA-BRED A LITTLE WARM WINS JIM DANDY

A Little Warm pulled away to win the $500,000 Jim Dandy Stakes for 3-year-olds on Saturday at Saratoga, while Proviso took the $500,000 Diana on the turf for fillies and mares in a thrilling finish.

A Little Warm, ridden by John Velazquez and trained by Tony Dutrow, wore down Miner’s Reserve to prevail by a length at the end of 1 1/8 miles. The finishing time was 1:47.98.

The Jim Dandy was his third win in five starts this season, and although A Little Warm did not compete in the Triple Crown, a victory at Saratoga Race Course firmly establishes him as a contender for the Travers Stakes on Aug. 28.

“I felt strongly he was going to run a terrific race, but I don’t know if that was going to be good enough to win,” Dutrow said. “We work so hard with these animals, and when you achieve a race like this, it’s bigger than life.”

Velazquez said that he also rode A Little Warm in Delaware and was impressed by the colt, who earned $300,000 for owner Edward P. Evans and paid $10.20, $5.50 and $3.80.

“You can place him wherever you want and let the speed go,” he said. “When you ask him, he’s there for you. That’s what I like about him.”

Miner’s Reserve paid $13.60 and $7.90, and Afleet Express returned $3.50 to show.

“We just got outrun at the end,” said Calvin Borel, who was aboard Miner’s Reserve. “I thought the colt ran a big race. With the way he had been working, he was coming into the race in good shape. I think he’s a late developer and I think you will see a lot more from him.”