The Sword Dancer – Grade I [BC]
SAR Race #9 1 1/2m InTurf Graded Stake
Purse $750.000 For Three Year Olds And Upward.
1 Neds Influence The Sidley Stud Franco M 124 —
Still only a four-year-old so I think there is plenty more to come from him whatever he does today. He is very much in the build and style of his sire Techfluence who also loved a trip and was a top horse later in life. He seems to have ironed out the inconsistency which saw him running well in graded stakes but also well beaten in a LAD optional claimer as a three-year-old and his form this year has been solid. The winner of both the FG Stakes and the San Juan Capistrano he was a little disappointing in the United Nations last time, but I think that was one of those HRP runs where he got a wide draw and was just taken out of the race. His works are strong enough and whilst he needs to prove himself above grade three, he has the draw to get a sweet trip and he certainly won’t be stopping at the end.
2 Hammerfest Smokey Stover Velazquez J R 124 —
He is one of those that is always a contender at any level but often isn’t mentioned in the same breath as the superstar’s. Hugely consistent he showed just how difficult it can be to read HRP form by being beaten in an ungraded stake and then winning the United Nations two starts later. After being a regular in top long-distance races for some time the trainer dropped him back to overnight level last year and even took him sprinting. Sure enough, as we know, the trip isn’t such a big deal at HRP, and he managed to win a five-furlong sprint in 56 flat pretty unheard in real life of for a horse that came out 7 months later to win the United Nations over a marathon trip.
So, we know this horse can win at pretty much any trip, we know he has the grade one gene, and we know the trainer wins top races, what isn’t there to like, especially when you consider the perfect draw.
3 Ziccio Night Rider Stables Castellano J J 124 —
A four-year-old with plenty of upside he was third behind Hammerfest in the United Nations after winning the grade one Manhattan so is another that we know can produce a win at this level. I am not sure this is his best trip, but he is certainly building his form nicely and as we know the four-year-olds are beginning to get their mid-season boosts now so I would think there is more to come. A claiming winner less than a year ago we see this stable turn those types into top horses more than anyone else and I think there is plenty more to come from this one.
4 King Que Niagra D J C Racing Stables Lopez P 124 —
He is running his 12th grade one in a row today and what a good horse he is for the stable winning five of them. I must admit when he won this race last year between wins in the United Nations and The Hirsch he looked like a BC winner in the waiting, but he missed that race and then went on a run of three average races in a row when getting some rough treatment from the draw monster. He bounced back to win the Man O War in May and has since been beaten into fourth in both the Manhattan and the United Nations. Look, we know this horse is good enough to win this but comparing his run of form last year to this he may be a little leg weary at six years old and has certainly found it harder to win. He gets a decent draw today, though and the best thing about HRP is that just when you think they are over the hill they pop up and win again. Recent works say he is as good as ever and if he is then he will win.
5 High Fives High Voltage Davis D 124 —
It is hard to imagine that this six-year-old has only won three races especially when you consider one of those was the DMR Handicap. Whilst it is true his win percentage is nothing to write home about, he has certainly proved he can run with good horses and is never beaten far. His works are pretty good, and he comes here after a strong second in the Bowling Green so there is no reason he won’t be in contention.
6 Wayward Prince Angelos Stable Jaramillo E 124 —
A lightly raced four-year-old he is certainly on the up and whilst pretty new to this level is working like a superstar and certainly warrants the entry and respect. Claimed from Mb Stables he won a couple of overnights for the stable but then proved, as we already know, that there is very little difference between a decent allowance and a stakes race when he landed the MTH Stakes in his first black type engagement. He proved that was no fluke with a strong fourth in the Read Stakes and whilst we have very little to go on, I do feel that he belongs at this level, if not today then soon.
7 Gallant Royalty Stables Cedillo A 119 —
This is a tough ask for a three-year-old against seasoned routers, but the weight allowance seems to be worth far more than it would be in real life bringing the younger generation to the fore in these grade ones at HRP. So, of the two represented here where do they set up? Well in both cases you would have to say you would give them little chance against their own age group at this level but as I mentioned the weight allowance can turn them into stars overnight, so you have to look at them pretty closely. The winner of just two races he has been beaten in optional claimers in his last two, so it is hard to say he has any chance on form but the fact that he is working 1.09 and 3 and gets 5Lbs suggests he won’t be far away.
8 Hurricane Fly Fractious Gutierrez Mario 119 —
Probably the better on paper of the two three-year-olds he at least has a grade three win to his name when he took the Winn on the dirt. With just one effort on turf when fourth in the American Turf you wouldn’t be taking him too seriously on form but of course the 5Lbs seems to be worth its weight in gold at HRP and with some slick dirt work times he could just be hitting the mark on those HRP anomalies that I talk about. I certainly won’t let him run without a few Disney Dollars on him because he fits too well into those 50/1 winners we see so often.
9 State General Mb Stables Rispoli U 124 —
We all know just being in Mb’s Stables seems to galvanize a horse to be better, but I am struggling to see how zone, even with the advantage of having Mb at the helm. A good winner of the Texas Turf after a good run to be second in the San Francisco Mile would put him in there with a chance but his effort in the Read Stakes last time out and the Muniz Memorial before that certainly send the balance the other way. His works are in the clone zone, and he clearly has ability so of course he has a 1 in 11 chance here, but I can’t pick him on exposed form.
10 Mickey South Shore Stables Saez L 124 —
The Draw Monster certainly has this one in its sights with a fourth consecutive terrible draw which has had the effect of bringing him down the ratings. Last year’s BC Turf winner from gate ten he was the top turf router last year and also won the HOL Derby after his BC win just to underline the fact. He didn’t seem to be suffering from the four-year-old curse early in the year winning the Kilroe Mile and the Makers Mark both at grade one and it looked like business as usual for the top turfer from 2022. Well, it took the draw monster, some wet ground and a developing race engine to stop him but stop him they did, and he has fallen back into the pack in his last four starts.
We know he is good enough to gap this field, but we also know not to expect consistency these days so whilst he could well win this on his way to another BC, he could also continue his runs of defeats.
11 Z Trippi One TwinTowersRacing Hernandez R M 124 —
Well as if to say why are you entering in this race the draw monster has seen its way to give this one absolutely no chance of the win. To be fair he wouldn’t have that much chance if he was drawn in gate two, but the car park really does give him no chance. Now as certain as that sounded as a statement about this horse’s chances, we all know that stranger things have happened especially with this trainer at the reins.
Hammerfest, King Que Niagra and Mickey have this race on form, but form doesn’t seem to mean much these days, so it is a much deeper contest than that. If this was real life, I would be picking one of them, but this is HRP, so I am going for Hurricane Fly, the three-year-old without a win on the turf for the reasons I have detailed above. In truth any one of ten could win this so rather than look at form I am looking for that little glitch that pays off so often.