Sword Dancer Recap
WINCHESTER WINS THE SWORD DANCER
Given the choice yesterday of traveling to Chicago to saddle Gio Ponti in the Arlington Million or staying home for Winchester's run in the Grade 1, $500,000 Sword Dancer, trainer Christophe Clement made the right choice.
Because though Gio Ponti finished second for the second straight year in the Million (a race he won three years ago), a half-hour earlier at Saratoga, Winchester stormed from off the pace under Cornelio Velasquez to win the Sword Dancer by three-quarters of a length over Rahy's Attorney, who set the pace under Emma-Jayne Wilson and dug in gamely when challenged.
Al Khali was another three parts of a length back in third after a troubled trip under Alan Garcia, whose claim of foul against Winchester for interference in the stretch run was not allowed.
'That's what good horses do,' Clement said. 'They overcome the trip. They overcome trouble. At the quarter-pole, he comes five or six wide and there was an objection against us, and, overall, we did get lucky. As you could see, we just came across when Al Khali was finishing.
'The main thing is. he won, which is great,' he added. 'Mr. and Mrs. Firestone [Winchester's owners] were flying in for the race, and I just thought I've always been to the Million for the last two or three years, and I thought it made sense to stay behind for once.'
Winchester, a 6-year-old son of the Firestone's 1987 turf champ Theatrical, was one of the nation's top turf horses last year, when he won the Grade 1 Manhattan and Turf Classic. The Sword Dancer was just his second start of this season. He ran the 1½ miles over the inner turf course in 1:26.74 to pay $7.20, topping a $48.20 exacta.
Boisterous, favored at 2-1, had a clear run up the rail in the stretch but flattened out to finish fifth.
'It opened up for him, and he didn't finish,' trainer Shug McGaughey said. 'It's disappointing.'
by Ed Fountaine
On the New York worktab
Multiple Grade 1 winner SASSY IMAGE (Broken Vow), who stretched her winning streak to three with a narrow score in the July 9 Princess Rooney H. (G1), completed five furlongs in a bullet :59 4/5 over the fast main track at Saratoga on Saturday in advance of the August 27 Ballerina S. (G1).
Grade 3 winner MR. FANTASY (E Dubai), unraced since an easy allowance/optional claiming score at Saratoga last September, accomplished four furlongs in :52 2/5.
Stakes winner BOOTS AHEAD (Storm Boot), who exits an easy win over allowance/optional rivals, clocked :50.
YIELD BOGEY (Langfuhr), second in the Jaipur S. (G3) and Poker S. (G3) in his two starts this year, turned three panels in :37 3/5 in advance of Wednesday's Troy S.
Diana S. (G1) winner ZAGORA (Fr) (Green Tune) breezed four furlongs in :49 4/5 on the fast Oklahoma training track at Saratoga.
Suburban H. (G2) runner-up HYMN BOOK (Arch), winner of the Three Coins Up S. two back, stepped in :51 4/5.
Grade 3 queen BUCKLEUPBUTTERCUP (Najran), a disappointing seventh as the favorite in the Rachel Alexandra S. most recently, finished four furlongs in :50 2/5.
Grade 3-placed EQUESTRIO (Elusive Quality), the trailer in the Birdrun S., motored in :48 3/5, the second-fastest of 34 works at the distance.
KATHMANBLU (Bluegrass Cat), fourth in the grassy Regret S. (G3) last out, recorded five furlongs in 1:03 4/5 in advance of the Lake Placid S. (G2) on August 21.
'It was just a regular maintenance work, and everything is good,' said Lars Becdelamotte, assistant to trainer Ken McPeek. 'She's on track to make the race.'
Grade 3 victor DESPITE THE ODDS (Speightstown), second versus allowance/optional claiming rivals in his last two outings, traveled three furlongs in :37.
FLASHPOINT (Pomeroy), readying for what promises to be a terrific King's Bishop S. (G1) on the August 27 Travers undercard, breezed five furlongs in a bullet :58 3/5 over the fast main track at Aqueduct on Saturday. A smashing seven-length winner of the six-furlong Jersey Shore S. (G3) on July 3, the front-running colt captured the seven-furlong Hutcheson S. (G2) by 7 1/4 lengths earlier this season.
Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) hero HAYNESFIELD (Speightstown) breezed five furlongs in a bullet 1:02 3/5 on the fast main track at Belmont Park. Fourth when opening 2011 in the Westchester S. (G3), he hasn't started since a fifth in the Metropolitan H. (G1).
Stakes winner and 2010 Jamaica H. (G1) runner-up CITRUS KID (Lemon Drop Kid), unraced since an allowance victory over a stakes-class field at Keeneland, logged a half-mile in :49 4/5.
Grade 3 scorer and 2010 Vosburgh S. (G1) runner-up RILEY TUCKER (Harlan's Holiday), who stretched his winless streak to six with a fifth in the Aristides S. (G3) last out, went in :50 4/5.
MY REDBYRD (Royal Academy), who netted her first stakes victory in the July 30 Hattie Mosley S., exercised in :50 3/5.
Stakes winner LONGHUNTER (GB) (Halling), fifth in the Quick Call S. on July 28, was timed in :50 2/5.
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