Nine will travel 1 1/2 miles on the Saratoga inner turf course in Saturday’s $850,000 Sword Dancer Stakes (G1). The lucrative grassy endeavor is a “Win & You’re In” contest that offers a berth in the starting gate for the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) at Santa Anita on November 2.
The speed of the field is likely to come from the inside. Longshots Proven Reserves (#1) (30-1) and Tiz Morning (#2) (50-1) have shown speed in the past, and I envision both of them to be involved from the break.
Channel Cat (#4) (5-1), Ya Primo (#6) (7-2) and Channel Maker (#8) (3-1) will be in close attendance in the next flight, with the other four in the cast relaxed and well off the pace early on.
$1 Superfecta 4,8 with 4,8 with 4,5,6,7,8,9 with all = $48
Here is the cast:
PROVEN RESERVES (#1) (30-1) – Flatter colt draws the rail for his turf debut for the always dangerous Chad Brown. Kentucky-bred has been unplaced from two assignments on the dirt in 2019, and the four-year-old lands in a tough spot to earn a first turf tally. Manny Franco will ride the likely pacesetter.
TIZ MORNING (#2) (50-1) – Morning Line gelding was a game third with claiming foes on this lawn but faces a massive class hike in this spot. The dark bay looks to be outclassed in the field.
NOBLE THOUGHT (#3) (30-1) – Former claimer was an even third on the green with starter allowance company most recently. Mike Maker trainee will need a big step forward to be a factor in his second Saratoga experience.
CHANNEL CAT (#4) (5-1) – Bowling Green (G2) victor kept finding more in securing a brave initial graded stakes tally for Todd Pletcher. Chestnut colt is in excellent current form and shows a pair of solid morning breezes on the green in anticipation of this event. Prime win contender will be forwardly placed throughout under Luis Saez.
PILLAR MOUNTAIN (#5) (10-1) – Improving colt shows a pair of wins in succession, including a facile allowance victory at Saratoga most recently. Irish import is one of two logical contenders in the field for Todd Pletcher, and he gets his class test today in making his stakes debut. John Velazquez picks up the mount atop the streaking four-year-old.
YA PRIMO (#6) (7-2) – Multiple Group 1 victor was a gritty second in the Bowling Green in his U.S. bow. Mastercraftsman colt has put in a pair of bullet morning moves in advance of the Sword Dancer, and any improvement makes him a menacing figure in his second run on U.S. ground.
ANNALS OF TIME (#7) (5-2) – Grade 1 hero is consistently very good and comes in off of an easy allowance victory in preparation of this assignment. One of three in the field for Chad Brown, the Temple City six-year-old has battled injuries throughout his career but continues to be a high-class performer. Morning-line choice stretches out to 12 furlongs for the initial time with Javier Castellano in the stirrups.
CHANNEL MAKER (#8) (3-1) – Multiple Grade 1 winner was a clear second in this race in 2018, and he had an excellent prep for this one when a close fourth in the Bowling Green last out. Bill Mott-trained gelding thrives at marathon trips on the turf and rarely runs a bad race. English Channel five-year-old is a must use with Joel Rosario retaining the mount.
SADLER’S JOY (#9) (9-2) – Kitten’s Joy chestnut draws widest in the field as a tough read in the cast. Tom Albertrani pupil has not been a factor in four straight dating back to 2018, but his closing sixth-place finish while in traffic in the Bowling Green was a smart start to his campaign. Old class horse is an interesting contender if he improves second off the bench, especially if the pace is swift and contested. Kentucky-bred gets a rider change to Jose Lezcano.
PHOTO: Channel Cat (c) Adam Coglianese Photography/Susie Raisher