The Sword Dancer – Grade I [BC]
1 1/2 Mile Inner Turf Stake Purse $750.000 Open 3 Year Olds And Up.
1st King Que Niagra D J C Racing Stables Lopez P
This horse had only made the running through the first call in two races in his 38-race career and both times he was beaten but a combination of the new race engine, an off track which often rewards front runners and a trip that he loves was enough today to see him turn into a dashing front running winner. Winning this race for the second year running with very different tactics to 2022 it reminds us that although the race engines change and consistency has clearly got much harder to maintain, a good horse is still a good horse regardless of what the pretty pictures on the viewer look like.
Amazingly this six-year-old with no less than six grade one wins to his name has never run in the BC, but I feel this year we will see him there and surely, he will be among the favorites to win the BC Turf. He was dominant today and the wet track certainly had an impact, but I don’t think this one was overly happy on it he was just maybe less inconvenienced than some of the others. Congratulations to the trainer who has had plenty of ups and downs over their career, but this is certainly a huge up that they thoroughly deserve.
2nd Mickey South Shore Stables Saez L
Whilst the winner was turned into an unlikely front runner this one was turned into an unlikely deep closer but still managed a dashing second place after being a detached last near halfway. I am not sure whether it is trainer’s instructions that can affect the running styles this much or just a result of the AI and the race engine but either way it does remind us that this is a computer game and that things like running styles really don’t seem to effect results as they might in real life. The last time this very good four-year-old ran as a deep closer was when he had a wide draw in the BEL Derby in 2022, that day he got up by a nose but then failed to repeat that feat from a wide draw in the SAR Derby. You may think therefore that there was some consistency to his running style according to draw, but he was drawn ten in the BC Turf last year and ran the stalk for most of the way for his biggest ever win.
The one thing you do notice about this horse is just how many times in the big races that he gets a wide draw, in fact 12 out of 16 of his let’s one appearances have been from the outer part of the draw. That fact alone makes his six grade one wins all the better and makes you realize just how good he is. It will be great to see this first two do battle in the BC this year and let’s hope they both get a decent draw and run their best races because it will be a titanic battle if that happens.
3rd Ziccio Night Rider Stables Castellano J J
Last year the trainer bought this one for just $35.000 after it won a $14.000 claimer, and I cannot count how many times they have turned average looking horses into big races winners. I often joke about the feed at Night Rider Stables but it is a huge achievement to do it so often and once again they have done it to the degree of having themselves a real BC contender. Let’s not forget that this one was finishing second last in the Elkhorn as race favorite back in April but then came out and won the grade one Manhattan next time and has since finished third in the United Nations and now this race. Those efforts will put him in the BC field and certainly give him every chance.
4th Gallant Royalty Stables Cedillo A
Ran on late into fourth but was really hampered throughout with the AI finding the backs of horses at will. I don’t know if he would’ve been better than fourth regardless of the pretty pictures we were looking at but if this was a real-life race you would say he found trouble in running throughout and was an unlucky fourth. In reality though, well HRP reality at least, he was fourth, picking up zero BC points and it looks unlikely that he will make the November championships. However, there are some good three-year-old races in the Autumn, and he is certainly good enough to pick up some black type before he turns four.