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Grade 1 Sword Dancer: Entries and Post Positions

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This year's version of the Sword Dancer isn't going to overwhelm you with Grade 1 talent, but there is a competitive field of ten that will look to take a big step towards the Breeders' Cup Turf.  Here's a quick overview of the entries for Saturday:

1-Marlang ships out to New York after running a couple of stakes in California, including a win in the Grade 3 Sunset Handicap at a mile and a half on July 18th.

2-Romp (ARG) hasn't won a race since capturing an OC/N1X race at Hollywood in late November of 2008.  He tried graded company four straight times earlier this year but could do no better than 2nd in the San Luis Rey Handicap on March 20th.

3-Interpatation won the Grade 1 Turf Classic at Belmont in early October before making an attempt at the Group 1 Japan Cup in late November.  His last three starts back in North America have seen him finish 8th, 9th, and 6th.

4-Expansion appears to be on the improve this spring/summer as he's made the jump up to graded stakes and proved he can run well at this level.  He won the Grade 2 Red Smith Handicap at the Big A in early November most recently ran third in the Grade 1 Manhattan and the Grade 1 Man o'War.  Expansion possesses a deadly finishing kick - he ran the final furlong of the Man o'War in 10.96 and the final quarter mile of the Manhattan in 22.66. 

5-Al Khali comes into the Sword Dancer off a win against OC 75k/N3X company in wire-to-wire fashion.  He's generally had a bit of trouble winning against graded competition but he has run well in his two tries on the Saratoga turf (2-1-0-1), including a score in the Grade 3 Saranac last summer.

6-Beapath is another that has made the transition to graded stakes company in 2010 with decent success.  He won the Grade 3 Pan American at Gulfstream in late March and finished 2nd in the Grade 3 Louisville Handicap on May 22nd.  Bearpath appears to like a softer turf as some of his best races have been run over GOOD or YIELDING ground.

7-Grassy has an allowance score over the Saratoga turf course last summer which he followed up with a 4th place finish in the Grade 1 Jamaica Handicap at Belmont.  He tried the Grade 2 Dixie two starts back at Pimlico but was a non-factor throughout.

8-Telling won last year's Sword Dancer at odds of 33/1 over Better Talk Now and Brass Hat, but that was the last time he graced the winner's circle.  His last race saw him finish 6th in the Grade 1 United Nations.

9-Marsh Side is one of only two multiple Grade 1 winners in this field and has scores in the '08 Canadian International and the '09 Northern Dancer at Woodbine on his resume.  He finished 4th beaten 1 ¾ lengths in the Grade 3 Arlington Handicap in his last race.  Prior to that he had a pair of 7th place finishes at Santa Anita, both of which came on the main track and can probably be thrown given the fact that synthetic is not his preferred surface.

10-Grand Couturier is the second of two multiple Grade 1 winners in the field; he won the Turf Classic and the Sword Dancer in back-to-back fashion in the 2008 before his form began to noticeably dip.  Since that time he's only won one time, the Grade 2 Bowling Green Handicap at Belmont last September.


Grade 1 Sword Dancer Invitational

Saratoga
1 ½ Miles (Inner Turf)
Three year olds and up
Purse: $500,000
Post time: 5:48 EDT

PP

Horse

Jockey

ML

1

Marlang

Velazquez J R

6/1

2

Romp (ARG)

Maragh R

20/1

3

Interpatation

Albarado R J

20/1

4

Expansion

Castellano J J

3/1

5

Al Khali

Desormeaux K J

6/1

6

Bearpath

Borel C H

10/1

7

Grassy

Dominguez R A

10/1

8

Telling

Gomez G K

6/1

9

Marsh Side

Nakatani C S

4/1

10

Grand Couturier (GB)

Garcia Alan

8/1