John's Call Looks To Repeat In Sword Dancer

John's Call Looks To Repeat In Sword Dancer
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Turf Classic winner John's Call, seeks Sword Dancer repeat.
In the 27-year history of Saturday's $500,000 Sword Dancer Invitational Handicap (gr. IT)), only two horses have won in back-to-back years. John's Call will try to join the ranks of Majesty Prince and El Senor and become the third to take Saratoga's lone grade I turf event in consecutive seasons.

Ten-year-old John's Call will have his work cut out for him as he faces a strong field of runners going 1 1/2 miles on the grass. The son of Lord at War out of Calling Guest is the 120-pound co-highweight with Bowling Green winner King Cugat.

John's Call crushed his opponents last year with his nine-length win en route to the Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT), which he only missed by a half-length.

Centennial Farms' King Cugat won four races as a 3-year-old last season, which culminated with a troubled 11th-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT).

This year Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott has elected to run the son of top turf sire Kingmambo in longer races. He recorded his first win of the season in the season by coming from off the pace in the Bowling Green.

A challenger to both John's Call and King Cugat could be Slew Valley, who gave King Cugat trouble in the Bowling Green. Under the guidance of trainer Michael Dickinson, Slew Valley has made only one other start besides the Bowling Green this year, an optional claiming race win at Delaware Park.

The field for the $500,000 Sword Dancer includes: King Cugat (Jerry Bailey, 120); Craigsteel (Richard Migliore, 114); Gritty Sandie (Edgar Prado, 114); State Shinto (Javier Castellano, 114); Ela Athena (Gary Stevens, 117); Williams News (Robby Albarado, 1114); Slew Valley (John Velazquez, 114); John's Call (Jean-Luc Samyn, 120); Honor Glide (Robbie Davis, 114); and With Anticipation (Pat Day, 114).

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