With English Channel heading out of Saratoga for a trip to Chicago for the Arlington Million (gr. IT), eight older turf horses have been entered for Saturday's Sword Dancer Invitational (gr. IT). The 12-furlong Sword Dancer goes as the ninth race and is one of two graded stakes on the Saratoga program, with the Alfred G. Vanderbilt Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) at six furlongs being run about an hour earlier.
Both races will televised live nationally on ABC during a program that begins at 4 p.m. EDT.
Under the allowance conditions of the $500,000 race, Relaxed Gesture will go as the 120-pound highweight. Last year, Moyglare Stud's homebred horse was second, three-quarters of length behind Kings Drama at the wire.
After a dull effort this spring in Dubai, Relaxed Gesture was second, beaten just a head by Cacique in the Manhattan Handicap (gr. IT) on the Belmont Stakes undercard and was third behind English Channel in the United Nations Stakes (gr. IT) at Monmouth July 8. Cacique and English Channel are the heavy hitters in Arlington's headliner.
While the Todd Pletcher-trained English Channel heads to Chicago, the meet's leding trainer will have a runner in the grade I stakes. Go Deputy, who won the Bowling Green Handicap (gr. IIT) off a three-month layoff July 15, gets the call. The 6-year-old Wertheimer and Frere homebred is two-for-two lifetime over the Saratoga turf. Pletcher also has entered Ramazutti, who is winless in five starts this year but all against graded company.
In last year's Sword Dancer, Relaxed Gesture was ridden by Jose Santos. This year, Relaxed Gesture will be piloted by Kent Desormeaux with Santos being named to ride Ramazutti.
Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, who sent out After Market to win the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes (gr. IIT) on Monday will send out Silver Whistle. The imposing 4-year-old gray/roan son of Alphabet Soup ran twice over the turf at last year's meet and was beaten a nose both times in the nine-furlong Hall of Fame and 1 3/16-mile Saranac (gr. IIIT).
A wild card in the race is Dan Borislow's Wild Desert who is coming in off a second-place finish to Invasor in the Suburban Handicap (gr. I) July 1. Last year's winner of the Queen's Plate has not run on turf since a fifth-place finish in the Bourbon County Stakes at Keeneland as a 2-year-old in October of 2004.Sword Dancer Invitational (gr. IT), $500,000, 1 ½ miles, turf, Saratoga Race Course, 3-year-olds and up, Saturday, Aug. 12, approx. post 5:20 p.m. EDT
PP – Horse – Jockey
1 – Silver Whistle – Mike Smith
2 – Relaxed Gesture – Kent Desormeaux
3 – Silverfoot – Fernando Jara
4 – Go Deputy – Eibar Coa
5 – Ramazutti – Jose Santos
6 – Wild Desert – Rafael Bejarano
7 – Grand Couturier – Richard Migliore
8 – Crown Point – Javier Castellano