Winless since scoring an upset in last year’s Sword Dancer Invitational (gr. IT) (VIDEO), Telling received a brilliant ride from Garrett Gomez to win the $500,000 race for the second straight year Aug. 14 at Saratoga.
A 6-year-old trained by Steve Hobby for Alex and JoAnn Lieblong, Telling had found the winner’s circle just once in his last 16 starts coming into the 1 1/2-mile race. That win was a 33-1 shocker in the 2009 Sword Dancer when he came from off the pace under Javier Castellano to get up by two lengths.
Sent off at 10-1 this time with Gomez riding for the first time, Telling raced in fifth in a field of nine, saving ground while Marlang took the field around in reasonable fractions of :24.28, :48.27, 1:13.23, and 1:36.62. Interpatation pressed the pace, while Al Khali, and Expansion were also up close.
Al Khali took over from a tiring Marlang coming off the final turn and carried a narrow lead entering the stretch. But Telling, who had moved into contention on the far turn, was forced into a tight seam along the inside by Gomez. Once he got through, he wore down Al Khali. Bearpath also was charging hard on the outside, but Telling sprinted on to win by 1 1/2 lengths.
The final time on the firm turf was 2:25.29. Bearpath, with Calvin Borel aboard, edged Al Khali by 1 1/4 lengths for runner-up.
"When we turned for home, the horse in front of us dropped off," Gomez said. "I just dove toward the fence, and it was like he found new life. He’s just one of those horses that stays on really well going a mile and a half. It’s a real pleasure for me to win a race for Steve Hobby because the first recognized race I ever rode was for his dad. That horse didn’t win, but I told Steve today that we better win this one for his dad.”
Telling was unplaced in all five of his starts since the 2009 Sword Dancer, including three tries this year. Last out, he was sixth in the United Nations Stakes (gr. IT) at Monmouth Park on July 3. A six-time winner from 23 starts, Telling has earned $831,049. His only two stakes wins have come in this event.
The winner was bred in Kentucky by Darley and is out of the Deputy Minister mare Well Chosen.
“(Gomez) had him in a perfect place all the way," Hobby said. "The pace was a little slower, but he was in a good spot. He sure chose the right way.
"It’s tremendous to win again; it’s something we had aimed at from the last time, and to make it work a year later is really amazing.”
Telling paid $22.60, $9.50, and $6.20. The exacta (8-6) returned $150 and the trifecta (8-6-5) was $1,028.