Main Sequence (outside), Imagining (inside), and Twilight Eclipse finished 1-2-3 in the Sword Dancer.<br><a target="blank" href="">Order This Photo</a>

Main Sequence (outside), Imagining (inside), and Twilight Eclipse finished 1-2-3 in the Sword Dancer.
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Coglianese Photos/Chelsea Durand

Top Three from Sword Dancer Back for Hirsch

Main Sequence, Imagining, Twilight Eclipse among field of seven Sept. 27 at Belmont.

Main Sequence, Imagining , and Twilight Eclipse—the top three finishers from last month's Sword Dancer Stakes (gr. IT) at Saratoga Race Course—will face off again Sept. 27 in the $600,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (gr. IT) on the Belmont Park "Super Saturday" card.

The Turf Classic, race 9 on the program with a 5:16 p.m. ET scheduled post, carries an automatic berth into the Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) at Santa Anita Park Nov. 1 as part of the Breeders' Cup Challenge series.

Undefeated in two starts since coming to the U.S. under trainer Graham Motion, Flaxman Holdings' homebred Main Sequence won the 1 1/2-mile Sword Dancer Aug. 17 on the Saratoga inner turf by a late-closing head over pacesetting Imagining.

Prior to the Sword Dancer, the 5-year-old by Aldebaran aced his North American debut in similar closing style when nabbing the 1 3/8-mile United Nations (gr. IT) from Twilight Eclipse by a neck.

Main Sequence breaks from post 6 with jockey Rajiv Maragh in the irons for the Joe Hirsch, which is run at 1 1/2 miles on Belmont's Widener course.

In the field of seven, all but 3-year-old Medal Count  carry 126 pounds. That contender is coming off an improved effort in the Sept. 6 Dueling Grounds Derby at 1 5/16 miles on the Kentucky Downs turf. He ran ninth in the July 27 William Hill Haskell Invitational (gr. I) on dirt at Monmouth Park off a third in the June 7 Belmont Stakes (gr. I). He carries 121 along with jockey Jose Ortiz from the outside while tackling older rivals for the first time.

Imagining, Phipps Stable's homebred son of Giant's Causeway , won the Man o' War Stakes (gr. IT) by three-quarters of a length over fellow Joe Hirsch starter Real Solution  back in May, but then was sixth in the June 7 Knob Creek Manhattan (gr. IT) won by that foe. The 6-year-old chestnut rebounded well in his Sword Dancer effort, however, and could show more from the 2 hole under Joel Rosario. Imagining was sixth in last year's Turf Classic.

Twilight Eclipse, the world-record holder for the 1 1/2-mile distance, owns four graded stakes scores for West Point Thoroughbreds but is still seeking to break through at the grade I level. Fifth in last year's Turf Classic, he departs the rail under Jose Lezcano after narrow misses in both the Sword Dancer and the United Nations.

The 5-year-old Purim gelding's only victory in five starts in 2014 was a February score in the Mac Diarmida Stakes (gr. IIT) at Gulfstream Park, after which he shipped to Dubai only to finish off the board in the Sheema Classic (UAE-I). But trainer Tom Albertrani seems to have rounded him back into form in his past two starts.  

Real Solution, a two-time grade I winner for Ken and Sarah Ramsey, looks to rebound after finishing seventh and last in the Aug. 16 Arlington Million (gr. IT). The 5-year-old Pennsylvania-bred son of Kitten's Joy  threw in that clunker for trainer Chad Brown after taking the Manhattan with a strong rally off his runner-up finish in the Man o' War. Real Solution was third in the 2013 Turf Classic.

The Ramseys and Brown will also enter another son of Kitten's Joy, 6-year-old Big Blue Kitten . The 2013 Sword Dancer winner looks to better his runner-up finish in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic of last year, when he was denied victory by a nose by multiple grade I winner Little Mike.

Big Blue Kitten comes off a second by half a length to Winning Cause in the Aug. 24 Cliff Hanger Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Monmouth Park. His Sword Dancer victory last year came after a score in the United Nations.

Completing the field is Four Tags Stable's Hangover Kid, a 5-year-old son of Lemon Drop Kid  who won the July 12 Bowling Green Handicap (gr. IIT) at the Joe Hirsch distance at Bemont to collect his first graded score for trainer Jason Servis. This start marks his grade I debut.

Entries: Joe Hirsch Turf Classic S. (G1T)

Belmont Park, Saturday, September 27, 2014, Race 9

  • Grade IT
  • 1 1/2m
  • Turf
  • $600,000
  • 3 yo's & up
  • 5:16 PM (local)
41Big Blue Kitten (KY)Joe Bravo126Chad C. Brown-
51AReal Solution (PA)Javier Castellano126Chad C. Brown-
12Twilight Eclipse (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJose Lezcano126Thomas Albertrani-
23Imagining (KY)Joel Rosario126Claude R. McGaughey III-
34Hangover Kid (NY)Irad Ortiz, Jr.126Jason Servis-
65Main Sequence (KY)Rajiv Maragh126H. Graham Motion-
76Medal Count (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJose L. Ortiz121Dale L. Romans-