How to bet the 2023 Sword Dancer Stakes

August 24th, 2023

An evenly matched field of seven will travel 1 1/2 miles on Saratoga's inner turf course in Saturday’s $750,000 Sword Dancer S. (G1). The field lacks a clear standout in my opinion, and I'm going to dabble with multiple horses in my wagers.

This is arguably the softest top-level event that #7 Stone Age (6-5) has competed in, and if the dark bay son of Galileo is ever going to add a Group 1 victory to his resume, then this is the right time. The four-year-old colt was a fine second in the 2022 Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) at Keeneland in his latest U.S. effort, and he comes in fresh for a first run since February while making his initial go for conditioner Chad Brown.

Stone Age faced some fantastic runners in 2022 with decent results overall, and his A-game will make him very difficult to keep out of the top two on Saturday with Flavien Prat in the saddle.

#5 Pioneering Spirit is taking a massive class hike in the Sword Dancer for trainer Linda Rice, but I can’t ignore the run he's been on during his four-race win streak on grass. The bay gelding, who was claimed for $40,000 in March, has romped home by a combined 12 1/2 lengths during his current streak which includes a facile allowance score racing 1 3/8 miles at Saratoga. Irad Ortiz Jr. taking the reins adds to the appeal of this wildcard.

#1 Soldier Rising didn’t have much luck in the Bowling Green (G2) most recently, but the Christophe Clement trainee was just a length back when third in the 2022 Sword Dancer and makes sense from the rail in this grassy marathon. The Frankel gelding has won or placed in three of his four outings over the Saratoga grass, and the rail post matches his running style for sure. I find it interesting that Jose Ortiz opts to ride Soldier Rising instead of other contenders in the field.

Sword Dancer Wagers

  • $5 Exacta: box 1,5,7 ($30)
  • $2 Trifecta: 7 with 1,5 with ALL ($20)
  • 50-cent Trifecta: 1,5,7 with 1,5,7 with ALL ($15)
    Total: $65