Trio of Breeders Cup Challenge Races at Saratoga

Travers Day

The Travers Day card features three Breeders’ Cup Challenge races including the $850,000 Sword Dancer (G1) on turf. (© Cheryl Quigley |

The marquee event of the Saratoga meeting is the $1.25 million Travers (G1) on Saturday, and there is plenty of other action on the 13-race card including a trio of Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” races.

Fox Sports 2 picks up the action at 11:30am ET until 4:00, with Fox taking over at 4:00 with live coverage of the Travers.

The $500,000 Ballerina (G1) is the first Breeders’ Cup  “Win and You’re In’ race on the card, a field of seven fillies and mares going seven furlongs with the winner stamping a ticket to the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1).

Come Dancing, trained by Carlos Martin is the 6-5 morning line favorite. The five-year-old mare is cutting back from the 1 1/16-mile Ogden Phipps (G1) where she ran second to Midnight Bisou, who returned to win the Molly Pitcher (G3) at Monmouth Park in her next start.

The Chad Brown trained Seprationofpowers is the 9-5 second choice on the morning line. The filly won the Bed of Roses (G3) at Belmont Park on June 7 in her last outing, her fourth win in nine career starts.

She broke her maiden over the Saratoga main track in 2017 and won the Test (G1) over the surface last summer.

“We really like the way she’s training,” Brown said. “We came from Belmont for this race because she’s a bit of a quirky horse to train and she found her comfort zone training there. So, we just stayed with it.”

Midnight Bisou Favored in Personal Ensign

We will see Midnight Bisou in the $700,000 Personal Ensign (G1) and the Steve Asmussen trainee is the 6-5 morning line favorite, taking on five foes at nine furlongs on the main track. The winner earns a starting spot in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1).

“I feel like she’s sitting on the best race of her year,” Asmussen said.

She takes on Elate (7-5), who is coming off a victory in the Delaware Handicap (G1). The Bill Mott trainee was beaten just a neck in last year’s edition of the Personal Ensign by Abel Tasman.

“She’s done well since the Delaware race and I’m very happy with her,” Mott said. “She put in a very good run in that race. She exploded and put in the kind of run that she’s capable of. We’ve been able to get a little racing in her this year and a little seasoning. She’s fit and ready to go, so hopefully that will carry on to the Personal Ensign.”

Elate Wins Delaware Handicap

Sword Dancer Draws Nine

The $850,000 Sword Dancer (G1) winner earns a fee-expenses paid trip to compete in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) and drew a field of nine that will travel 1 ½ miles on the inner turf course.

Chad Brown will saddle 5-2 morning line favorite Annals of Time, who beat third level optional claimers over the Spa turf going 1 3/16 miles in his last start on July 24. The six-year-old has made just seven career starts, his lone stakes win coming in the 2016 Hollywood Derby (G1).

“A mile and a half will be a test for him,” said Brown. “He’s never run in a three-turn race before. I’d prefer there to be some pace in the race, but he has a really good turn of foot and he’s going need to.”

Brown also sends out Bowling Green (G2) runner up Ya Primo (7-2) and Proven Resources (30-1), who was fourth in his last two starts against second level optional claimers.

Bill Mott saddled last year’s Sword Dancer runner up Channel Maker (3-1), and Tom Albertrani sends out Sadler’s Joy, who was third in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1). The six-year-old was sixth in the Bowling Green in his 2019 debut.

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