Sword Dancer Anticipates a Repeat

Augustin Stable's With Anticipation will try to become the third horse to win back-to-back runnings of the Sword Dancer Invitational when he faces 10 opponents Saturday at Saratoga. The $500,000 turf contest will cover a mile and a half, and is the only grade I on the grass run at Saratoga.

With Anticipation, a 7-year-old Relaunch gelding, got back to his winning ways in the United Nations (gr. IT) at Monmouth last month. "Hopefully, he'll continue on," said trainer Johnathan Sheppard. "He kind of stubbed his toe last year in the Breeders' Cup and in Japan. We know he's in good form now, but it depends on how the race sets up."

Bobby Frankel, who is on a two-year-and-counting roll, sends out Flaxman Stable's Denon, who just missed by a neck in the United Nations. Before that, Denon won the Charles Whittingham (gr. IT) at Hollywood Park.

"He dropped out the back in the San Luis Rey," Frankel said of the colt's March 16 effort. "After that, he's been ridden out of the gate to get position and it's worked out pretty well in his last two races."

Those two races produced a victory for Denon in the Whittingham and the narrow loss in the United Nations.

"He got bounced around like a ping pong ball (in the United Nations)," said Frankel. "Sarafan ran into him twice in the stretch."

Amherst Stable's Volponi enters in good form, missing just a neck in the Bernard Baruch (gr. IIT) two weeks ago after winning the Poker Handicap at a mile in July. Trainer P.G. Johnson said, "I have no idea if he can get the 12 furlongs. He's bred for it and he acts like a horse that will run it, but I've been around too long to say what a horse will do. If he doesn't hit the wall, he'll run well."

Gary Tanaka's Hawkeye will ship in from Europe. The 4-year-old Danehill colt has run third in Group 1 races in England, France and Italy. He won three races in a row at one mile last season, but has yet to prove himself at 12 furlongs.

Hawkeye was second as the favorite while facing just four rivals in the listed Gala Stakes at Sandown July 5th.

Cetewayo, owned by John Chandler, won the Sword Dancer four years ago and is still going strong for trainer Michael Dickinson. The 8-year-old registered his second Grade I win in the Gulfstream Park Breeders' Cup Handicap this winter at 18-1. The late-running veteran is in good form, coming off wins in the Greenwood Cup and Stars and Stripes, both at 1 1/2 miles.

Whitmore's Conn hails from the hot Randy Schulhofer barn, whose runners in turf stakes have been live at good odds. Whitmore's Conn won the Bowling Green Handicap (gr. II) at Belmont Park in his last start and has done well at long distances.

The Sword Dancer can be seen on ESPN beginning at 5 p.m. eastern. The race will go about 30 minutes into the program.

The field for the Sword Dancer, in post position order with jockeys and weights:

1) Denon (Edgar Prado, 118)
2) Man From Wicklow (Javier Castellano, 114)
3) Volponi (Jose Santos, 115)
4) Hawkeye (Jean-Luc Samyn, 118)
5) Grammarian (Brice Blanc, 115)
6) Eltawaasul (Jorge Chavez, 114)
7) Whitmore's Conn (Shaun Bridgmohan, 115)
8) Rhythm Band (Richard Migliore, 114)
9) Cetewayo (Jose Santos, 117)
10)With Anticipation (Pat Day, 120)
11)Startac (Jerry Bailey, 116)