The Chad Brown trained Tribhuvan headlines a field of seven in Saturday’s $750,000 Sword Dancer (G1), one of six Grade 1 races at Saratoga.
Tribhuvan is the 2-1 morning line favorite for the Sword Dancer, which awards the winner a fee-expenses paid trip for the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) this November at Del Mar.
The Sword Dancer is one of three Breeders’ Cup Challenge races on tap on Saturday at Saratoga. The $500,000 Ballerina (G1) winner stamps a ticket to the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) and the $600,000 Personal Ensign (G1) winner will receive a starting spot in the gate for the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1).
The headliner on Saturday is the $1.25 million Travers (G1), which drew a field of seven three-year-olds led by Belmont Stakes (G1) winner Essential Quality, who is the 4-5 morning line favorite.
Brown has won the Sword Dancer three times, with Annals of Time in 2019, Flintshire in 2016 and Big Blue Kitten in 2013. Since Tribhuvan was gelded in January, he has won two of three starts and has become a frontrunner, his two wins coming in gate to wire fashion.
“He surprised me that he’s turned into the frontrunning horse that he is now,” Brown said. “We’ve gone on with it and he’s changed since we gelded him as well. He’s developing beyond my expectations and I’m really proud of the horse. He continues to get better.”
Brown will also saddle Rockemperor (6-1), who was the runner up in the Bowling Green (G2) over the Saratoga turf on July 31.
2021 Bowling Green Replay
“He ran well last time. He’s a horse that’s always knocking on the door in these bigger races, so hopefully he steps it up here,” Brown said.
Cross Border (4-1) pulled off the mild upset in the Bowling Green at 6-1 for trainer Mike Maker. The seven-year-old has won six of his seven starts over the Spa turf. The meet’s leading rider Luis Saez will be in the irons again.
The race drew one Euro invader, the Aiden O’Brien trained Japan, who is coming in off a win in Group 3 company. The five-year-old won back to back Group 1 races in 2019.
“A mile and a half is better for him than a mile and an eighth, but it’s good that he’s won over a mile and a eighth, because it shows that he’s got a bit of speed as well. You just want a true run race every time you come here.,” said assistant T.J. Comerford.
There are 13 races on the Saturday card at Saratoga with a first post of 11:35am ET.
Let’s head out to Saratoga for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Saratoga Race 11 The Sword Dancer G1 5:25 ET
1 Tribhuvan 2-1
4 Channel Maker 8-1
6 Japan 9-2
2 Gufo 3-1
Since this Brown trainee kicked off his 2021 by getting gelded, this guy has earned triple digit Beyers in his three starts, a pair of wins and a second and has shown improved speed. He came off a 10-month layoff and took the field gate to wire to win the Ft. Marcy (G2). He got clear heading for home but got run down in the Manhattan (G1) by his stablemate Domestic Spending, who returned to run second in the Mr. D (G1) at Arlington Park, beaten a neck. Last out our top pick won his first G1, taking the United Nations in gate to wire fashion. He draws the rail and Prat is going to send him. It is his first trip at 1 ½ miles but he won last out in the U.N. like he could have handled plenty of additional ground. This group he faces is better today but he looks up to it for Brown who has caught fire, picking up five wins on Wednesday to take over the top spot in the trainer standings.
The Mott trainee was a disappointing seventh last out in the Bowling Green (G2) here on July 31 in his first start off a four-month break. He came up empty two back in the Dubai Sheema Classic (G1) after a good second in the Neom Turf Cup in Saudi Arabia. Last year this guy won this race by 5 ¾ lengths over soft ground in a gate to wire score and backed that up by winning the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1) and Belmont Park. He then was beaten just a length when third in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1). He seems likely to give a better account of himself here second off the break and the 8-1 morning line looks fair enough to give him a good look here.
The five-year-old makes his U.S. debut here for the O’Brien barn with Moore in to ride. He is coming off a game nose win in the Green Room Meld Stakes (G3) last out at Leopardstown. He is just 2 for 10 with the wins coming in G3 company since winning the Grand Prix de Paris (G1) and Juddmonte International Stakes (G1) in back to back races in 2019 before his fourth in the l’Arc de Triomphe (G1). Dating back five years O’Brien is 0 for 8 at Saratoga and was just 1 for 22 in New York before winning the Belmont Oaks (G1) with Santa Barbara and the Belmont Derby (G1) with Bolshoi Ballet on July 10, both with Moore aboard. Japan has a pair of wins at 1 ½ miles and he fits with his best.