Race of the Week- August 29th, 2020: Sword Dancer Stakes

The 2020 Sword Dancer Stakes will be Race 9 on August 29th at Saratoga. Post time is set for 4:43 PM CT. This Grade I Race is one and one half miles on turf and has a purse of $500,000. The race is for horses four-years old and upward. There are eight horses in the field this year. Last year’s winner was Annals of Time. The 2017 winner, Sadler’s Joy, is in the field again for this year. Let’s take a look at the rankings for this year’s field.

In my algorithm, there are several factors I take into consideration including the horse’s past performances, workouts, winnings as well as the jockey’s performances and winnings. Horse’s rank values are calculated based off of the other horses in the field. Let’s check out the rankings for the eight horses entered in this year’s Sword Dancer Stakes.

Five of these horses faced each other in their last race back on August 1st in the Bowling Green Stakes. Cross Border won that race and that’s likely why he’s at 3-1 here. He ran a 109 speed figure in that race, but his two previous were both only 99 figures. That’s what dropped him to the bottom of my rankings. He also only won that last race because Sadler’s Joy was disqualified after actually finishing first. Behind those horses, it was Highland Sky, Channel Maker and Marzo finishing in that order. Marzo was all alone out on the lead in that race before fading down the stretch.

Sadler’s Joy is the morning line favorite at 5/2 and this will be his fourth consecutive year running in this race. He won it in 2017, came in 6th in 2018 and 2nd in 2019, so he has plenty experience in this race. He was disqualified after finishing first in the Bowling Green Stakes in his last, but looked the best out of the horses in that field.

The top horse in my rankings in Aquaphobia. At a 4-1 morning line, this is the horse I like to win. Coming off an impressive win in the United Nations in his last on July 18th. There is a jockey change with him as Irad Ortiz Jr. takes the mount, but I’m not sure there’s anyone else I’d rather have on him.

Pedro Cara is my wild card in here. A French horse bred for the grass. He only has one career race on US soil, but it was the 2019 Jockey Club Stakes and he was impressive! Closing very hard and losing that one on a photo. He’s raced twice in Qatar since then; winning the Qatar Derby back in December and finishing third in the H.H The Amir Trophy in February.

Corelli is another horse I like. He finished third in that United Nations Stakes won by Aquaphobia. He’s done most of his racing in England, but has ran his last two in the States. He hasn’t won either of those, but was a strong contender in that United Nations race.

I have run the 2020 Sword Dancer Stakes 1,000 times in simulations. Below are the results of those races.

Quick Wrap Up and Betting Strategies

Most Likely to Win: 2 Aquaphobia (4-1)

My Bet: 2 to Win, 2-7 Exacta Box

Longer Shots I Like: Aquaphobia (4-1), Pedro Cara (10-1), Corelli (6-1)

Superfecta: 2-7-5-8

I’m looking to beat the Sadler’s Joy (5/2) and Cross Border (3-1). I don’t think they’re the obvious favorites. I’m sticking with Aquaphobia and taking a shot with Pedro Cara: a bit of wildcard because he’s been over in Qatar and hasn’t raced since February, but he’s bred for the grass and he was impressive in last year’s Jockey Club Stakes. After that Corelli and Sadler’s Joy round out my top four horses. I’m not looking any deeper into the field than those four.

Aquaphobia (5 horse) wins United Nations, Corelli (8 horse) finishes 3rd
Bowling Green Stakes Sadler’s Joy finishes first, but is disqualified, Cross Border ends up with win, Marzo, Highland Sky and Channel Maker also in here
2019 Jockey Club Stakes, Pedro Cara’s only US race

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