Sword Dancer Stakes Picks
Six of the seven contenders in the Sword Dancer are very difficult to sort out on paper with Bigger Picture (8/1) Sadler's Joy (5/1) and Hunter O'Riley (6/1) all exiting the Bowling Green Stakes where a half length separated the trio. Hunter O'Riley emerged from that race with the upset win at odds of 16/1 and will try to prove that effort was no fluke, but he's in depper waters here, and will have to tackle Money Multiplier (7/2), and European-shippers Erupt (3/1) and Idaho (2/1) who figure to attract the bulk of the wagering support. The outsider in the field appears to be Frank Conversation (20/1) who is appropriately priced on the morning line.
There's no getting around the reality that European-based horses have dominated the American turf division when sent across the pond for major races, notably the Breeders' Cup Turf. Erupt and Idaho look to have all the credentials of serious horses ready to conquer the best in America. Each horse has provided a glimpse of their North American form, facing one another last fall in the Grade 1 Canadian International at Woodbine.
Erupt came away with the win that day, but is winless in two European starts this year. Idaho, who could do no better than fifith in the Canadian International against Erupt, is going the better of the two horses this year, including a Group 2 win at Ascot and a credible third-place effort in the Group 1 King George and Queen Elizabeth Stakes July 29 in his last start.
Erupt and Idaho certainly don't represent the best of Europe's 12 furlong horses, but either could be dangerous in the Sword Dancer and may provide a measuring stick for the quality of the American runners looking ahead to the BC Turf.
The money man
As usual, trainer Chad Brown is flexing his muscles at the current Saratoga meet, connecting at a 21% clip from 104 starters. Brown is a renowned turf trainer and will saddle Money Multiplier following the five year-old's impressive win in the Grade 2 Monmouth Stakes last out. The length and a half victory at a mile and an eighth over a quality field was particularly impressive as it was Money Multiplier's first start in over eight months. Turf ace Javier Castellano was aboard both Money Multiplier and Sadler's Joy in each horse's last start, and will opt for Money Multiplier in this spot. Money Multiplier has shown an affinity for Saratoga (never out of the exacta in three career starts at the Spa) and should be able to control the early pace in this event.
Adding to his appeal, Money Multiplier ran extremely well in last year's Sword Dancer, finishing second behind the well-regarded Flintshire while recording a 109 Beyer Speed Figure. A repeat performance of that race would probably best this field, so I'll take Money Multiplier on top.
- 1st: Money Multiplier
- 2nd: Idaho
- 3rd: Sadler's Joy
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