With Anticipation in Unconventional Work; Defends Sword Dancer Title

Edited from track reports
Augustin Stable's With Anticipation breezed four furlongs in :51 3/5 in company with Erda over Saratoga's Oklahoma training track Wednesday. Kate Fitzpatrick was up for the unconventional work, which took place over the steeplechase course at the training track. With Anticipation avoided the jumps, running around them.

With the training turf course closed due to wet conditions, Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard gave only slight consideration to working the 8-year-old gelding over a wet dirt track. With Anticipation, who has won the last two runnings of the grade I Sword Dancer Invitational, will defend his title Saturday in the 29th running of this $500,000 race for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/2 miles.

"I walked out onto the dirt track at 4 o'clock this morning thinking it would be packed a little bit and maybe we could work him early, but it was like soup," Sheppard said. "It went right over my boots. If something happened to him on the dirt track, I'd never forgive myself.

"I hadn't planned on doing what we did, but if we didn't work him, we really couldn't run. We were lucky to have that option. I wasn't sure they'd let us out there."

Sheppard was thrilled he got the work in and even happier with the result.

"We had a guy on the chestnut filly out setting the pace and With Anticipation came on and nailed him right on the finish," Sheppard said.

Revved Up, Macaw and Slew Valley are the respective alternates for the Sword Dancer, in order of preference. Each has been assigned 114 pounds. Denon was assigned highweight of 122 pounds.