The Gr. 1 Sword Dancer Invitational is the feature race at Saratoga on Saturday. It is a mile and a half on the inner turf course for three year olds and up with a purse of $500,000 and is a prep for the Breeder’s Cup Turf. Named for the Horse of the Year in 1959, Sword Dancer was owned by the Brookmeade Stable and trained by Elliot Burch. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1977.
A very good field of 8 are entered, with trainers Bill Mott and Christopher Clement both entering 2. Clement has said that Grassy will scratch if the turf is too firm. His other charge is the Firestone’s homebred Winchester, who might be conceived as the class of the field. This will be his second race off a layoff, and though he is working well, his trainer has said that coming back in three weeks might not be ideal.
The highweight (123) in the field is Teak’s North who is looking for his 3rd Grade 1 win of the year. However he has never been the distance of a mile and a half.
Drosselmeyer, last year’s Belmont winner, HAS won at the distance, but that was on dirt. He tried the turf twice as a two year old, but did not win. However, a sharp work on Monday on the grass, indicates the surface switch should not be a problem. Mott’s other horse Al Khali seems to be going in the wrong direction.
Rahy’s Attorney is a 14 race winner of over 2 million dollars and though perhaps a cut below these, always tries.
Though Bim Bam did beat Champion Gio Ponti in the Manhattan, I think he does his best running when there is some cut in the ground. He has not won this year, and I can’t recommend.
The horse I like in here is Boisterous (a very good name for a son of Distorted Humor!). He is a Phipps homebred out of Emanating, who is by Cox’s Ridge. They are becoming scarce, but when I see anything out of a Cox’s Ridge mare I know they can run all day.
He is trained by the very patient Hall of Fame trainer, Shug McCaughey, who is having a very good Saratoga meet winning at 31%. And leading jockey John Velazquez has won on him 4 times.
His numbers are improving with every start and he can run on any type of turf. Yes, he is stepping up, but his effort in the Gr. 1 Man O War proves that he deserves another chance. And I think the added distance will suit him. He is 4 to 1 on the morning line, and he could stay around the third choice.
Boisterous is my top choice in the Sword Dancer. I think this could be his day to run a big one and win a Grade 1. I may make a “Distorted Humor exacta “with Drosselmeyer as my second choice.
A big Thank You to ThoroFan and the Handicapper’s Corner for giving me the opportunity to express my opinion, and don’t forget to check out fellow-blogger, “the Turk’s” review of the Arlington Million.
Good Luck if you are wagering this weekend!