Saturday, August 15, 2009

Grand Couterier Tries For 3rd Straight Sword Dancer Score

Saratoga Race Course

The $500,000 Grade I Sword Dancer Invitational is the feature today at the Spa. The race will be run at a mile and a half for three year olds and upward over the inner turf course and features an international field and some old rivals.

Horses To Watch For the Sword Dancer

Grand Couterier
He ran 5th to Gio Ponti in the Man O' War at Belmont in his last but is winless in two starts this year. However, he loves this course and has won this race each of the past two years plus the jockey/trainer combo is winning at 50% this year. Alan Garcia rides for Robert Ribaudo.

Moves to the US from France where he was trained by Andre Fabre. He won a Group II in his last in May at Longchamp and has been training well since coming to the US. He gets a 5 pound weight break off his last race plus first lasix today and this barn wins at a 15% rate with fist in US horses. Johnny V rides for Todd Pletcher.

Ran 3rd to Gio Ponte in the Man O' War in his last and has 100+ Beyers in 2 of 3 North American starts. He won the Group I Premio di Milano in Italy each of the past two years and ran 6th to Eastern Anthem in the Dubai Sheema Classic this spring. World traveller has raced in 6 different countries over the last year and brings his jockey with him today. A. Starke rides for Peter Schiergen.

Was caught in the lane by Gio ponte but held on for 2nd in the Man O' War and won a Grade 3 at Woodbine in June at this distance. Has been in top form in his last two and has been working well for this. J. Jones is in from Woodbine to ride for Roger Atfield.

Better Talk Now
He won this race in 2004 but has not won at all since 2007. He did rally from 6 wide to finish 2nd to Grand Couterier in this race last year and his 3rd place behind Gio ponte in the Manhattan in June may indicate he is turning things around. He is 10 years old now and has been on a 10 week vacation since the Manhattan but has two bullet works since then. Ramon Dominguez is back aboard today for Graham Motion.

Closed from 20 lengths back to take second in the United Nations at Monmouth Park in his last with a 102 Beyer. He seems to perform better on firm turf which is expected today and that last race could indicate he is ready to run a big race but he would have to do that against a much deeper field today. Jorge Chavez rides for Andreas Wohler.