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Check out our predictions and odds for the 2022 Sword Dancer Stakes at Saratoga!
|COLD HARD CASH
|I Ortiz Jr
$5 Exacta Part Wheel – Adhamo over Mira Mission, Broome, Gufo, Soldier Rising and Cross Border = $25
$3 Exacta Box – Adhamo, Mira Mission and Broome = $18
$2 Exacta Box – Adhamo, Mira Mission and Soldier Rising = $12
Top Pick: Adhamo (7/2)
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Runner-up in last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Turf for trainer Aiden O’Brien, Broome returns to the United States as the morning line favorite among a field of ten in Saturday’s Grade 1 Sword Dancer Stakes at Saratoga.
The 6-year-old son of Australia is right at home at the 12-furlong trip he will run on Saturday. He will be coming in off a pair of solid efforts at Ascot, having won the Group 2 Hardwick before finishing fourth in the Group 1 King George in July.
Always a classy runner, he enjoyed his best season on the track last year, which included a win in the Group 1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud four starts before his near miss at Del Mar in his first try at American racing.
Chief among his rivals will be the Chad Brown-trained Adhamo. Knocking on the door in his first three starts in America, the Irish-bred, former French-based runner broke through last time at Monmouth Park.
Helped to a clear trip by rider Flavien Prat, the Intello 4-year-old rolled right on by stablemate Tribhuvan on his way to an impressive score in the Grade 1 United Nations five weeks ago.
The front-running Tribhuvan is also from the Brown barn and danger in the $750,000 Sword Dancer. The Toronado gelding used his high cruising speed to go wire-to-wire in the Grade 1 Manhattan at Belmont Park before fading to fourth in the United Nations.
The always dangerous Gufo will add blinkers following three consecutive defeats. A winner of the Grade 2 Pan American in April, the Christophe Clement-trained millionaire comes in off a fifth-place but closing fast, finish in the United Nations.
A strong winner of the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes in England two starts back, it appears this 6-year-old son of Australia has not lost a step after a very good 5-year-old season for top trainer Aiden O’Brien.
Not only was he a Group 1 winner in France last year, but he also ran big in his only previous trip to America, when runner-up to Yibir in the Breeders’ Cup Turf. A repeat of that effort could easily find him in the winner’s circle on Saturday.
He was a well-beaten fourth last time out, but that Group 1 race at Ascot was certainly tougher than what he will see in the Sword Dancer. The classy Irish-bred clearly has a big shot here, but there is one horse that I like better.
A solid horse in France last year as a 3-year-old, this son of Intello will have every chance to become a turf star in America. Transferred to the barn of Chad Brown, he ran two good races to begin his career in the States but has taken things up a notch in the last two while running longer.
Two starts back, traffic cost him any chance to run down Tribhuvan at 10 furlongs in the Grade 1 Manhattan, but he still ran a good second. With better racing luck and an extra furlong to run, he had no problem running down his rival stablemate last out in the Grade 1 United Nations at Monmouth.
It was a powerful victory that points out he is still improving. This will be his toughest test yet, but he gives every indication that he is ready to build upon it and prove himself a prime contender for this year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf. He is the top pick.
The first of two from the Christophe Clement barn, this is the defending champion of the Sword Dancer, having rallied to a game win in last year’s edition. He also ran a very good second at Saratoga as a 3-year-old back in 2020.
Wins have not come as easy for him of late, but he still looks to be one of the best distance turf horses in the nation. Even in a fifth-place finish in the United Nations last time out, he closed fastest of all and if he had been a little more in touch early, he could have won.
Clement will add blinkers on Saturday in hopes of keeping the big chestnut within striking distance when they turn for home. Back at Saratoga, and at 12 furlongs, he must be respected here.
The winner of the Grade 1 Manhattan two starts back, this Brown-trained runner will likely go right to the lead and see how far he can take them. His free-wheeling style has worked for three graded stakes victories in the last two seasons, including a pair of Grade 1 wins.
He’s yet to be able to carry his speed a full 12 furlongs yet, though. Last year in this race, he faded to fifth after trying to stalk the early lead, and in the Breeders’ Cup Turf he backed right out to finish 13th.
Last time out, he looked strong into the stretch of the 11 furlong United Nations but had no answer for Adhamo’s late run. He’s always a danger on the front, but until he proves himself at this distance, I will make him beat me.
The grand old gelding still shows no sign of slowing down. Now a stakes winner in six of his seven seasons on the track, he won the Sword Dancer two years ago at the age of six on his way to an Eclipse Award.
This will actually mark his fifth consecutive year in the Sword Dancer, as he looks for his second victory in the race.
As much as there is to like about him, including a game stakes win last out at Belmont Park, I do believe he is at his best when allowed to dictate the pace. With Tribhuvan likely out there on the lead, I am not backing the old pro this time around.
This has always been a horse who has been tough to figure out. When I like him, he disappoints and when I dismiss him, he sometimes runs big. I hope this will not be one of those big performances, as I will not be including him on my tickets here.
The third of three from Chad Brown, this one does suffer from inconsistency and does not seem capable of stringing together wins.
Coming off a victory in the Bowling Green in an easier spot, I will be counting on his inconsistency to shine through on Saturday. At his best, he is in with a shot, though.
This son of Noble Mission, out of a Dynaformer mare certainly has the pedigree to run long. To this point in his career he has been kept at middle distances as he has developed into a graded stakes winner.
Trained by Ian Wilkes and to be ridden by Julien Leparoux, I have every reason to believe that this is a horse who will appreciate the added distance. Granted this Grade 1 affair is no easy spot to make his distance debut, but I believe in his steady improvement into a serious turf horse.
Likely to be well into the double digits on the oddsboard here, I look forward to giving him a shot to run a big race on Saturday.
Trained by Mike Maker, this experienced son of English Channel has always done his best racing at Saratoga. In fact, his last race was the first time out of the money there in nine career starts, with six wins.
He had some trouble in that edition of the Bowling Green, so it’s possible he can bounce back with a better result on Saturday. Having said that, now at 8-years-old, you do have to wonder if he is still capable of running with the top turf males in the country.
With his great record at Saratoga, and sure to have attractive odds here, I will include the veteran in the mix, but there are a few other longshots that I prefer.
The second from the Clement barn, this 4-year-old English-bred has been a consistent runner in the US since coming over more than a year ago. In fact, he has finished in the money in 11-of-12 career starts on both sides of the pond.
While he has yet to break through with a victory in graded stakes racing, he has come close. Last year at the Spa he finished a good second in the Grade 1 Saratoga Derby.
This will be his toughest test to date, but he comes in on good form and off another nice performance at Saratoga. With good value on the morning line, he is one that I will use in the exotics
Trained by Linda Rice, this New York-bred son of Maclean’s Music will be making his stakes debut in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer. A winner of a 12-furlong turf allowance at Belmont Park last fall, he has only made two starts so far in 2022.
After a third-place effort going shorter on the grass, he romped home over the Saratoga slop in a race taken off the turf four weeks ago. Assuming this stays on the turf on Saturday, this one would be a big longshot and one that I’d be hard-pressed to make a case for.
|Sword Dancer Stakes (Grade 1)
|Saturday, August 27 — 5:05pm Eastern time
|How to Watch
Taken to the races at a very young age, Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Professionally, his work has been published on several leading industry sites. Brian served as the Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, where he still writes a regular column and hosts the popular weekly webcast HorseCenter.
Email: [email protected]
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