Although a narrowly beaten second last time in the Jim Dandy (G2), the leading Saratoga prep for the Travers (G1), Kentucky Derby (G1) participant Flameaway is bypassing Saturday's Midsummer Derby and will instead head to suburban Philadelphia for the $300,000 Smarty Jones (G3) at Parx Racing.
Contested at 1 1/16 miles, the Smarty Jones is a prelude to next month's $1 million Pennsylvania Derby (G1). It has attracted a field of eight.
The Jim Dandy was a return to better form by Flameaway, who ran 13th in the Kentucky Derby and sixth in the Ohio Derby (G3) in his prior two starts. In the nine-furlong Jim Dandy, Flameaway narrowly led for a mile before yielding late to Tenfold by three parts of a length.
Flameaway entered the Kentucky Derby picture following an upset score over Catholic Boy in the Sam F. Davis (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs. He followed up with second-place efforts in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) and Blue Grass (G2).
Axelrod rallied from near the back to win the July 14 Indiana Derby (G3) by a head in his most recent start and is the second choice at 3-1 on the morning line. Also exiting that Indiana Grand feature is Title Ready, who finished 1 1/2 lengths behind Axelrod in third.
John Servis, who trained Smarty Jones to victory in the 2004 Kentucky Derby, has entered two colts. The most notable is multiple stakes winner Diamond King, who seeks to rebound from back-to-back defeats in the Preakness (G1) and Ohio Derby. Seventh behind Justify in the fog at Pimlico, Diamond King was no factor late when fifth at Thistledown when last seen.
The other Servis trainee is First Mondays, a son of Curlin who only debuted on June 28. He's won both starts at Gulfstream, one at six furlongs and the other over a mile.
You can watch and wager on the Smarty Jones at TwinSpires.com.