Sword Dancer Invitational Stakes at Saratoga

Dave Bond | OTB Writer
Updated: August 16, 2012 -- 5:00 PM ET

Las Vegas, NV - Saratoga Raceway will be the scene of two lucrative Grade 1 races on Saturday, August 18 - one of those being the Sword Dancer Invitational Stakes. Featuring horses three years old and up willing to go one and a half miles on Saratoga's turf track, $600,000 will be on the line for this important Grade 1 event.

The Sword Dancer has attracted a solid field of nine for race 9 on Saratoga`s Saturday card. Post time is 5:13 PM. Let`s take a look at all nine entries and what brought them to this lucrative Grade 1 race.

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2012 Sword Dancer Invitational Stakes Race Favorites

Turbo Compressor - has won three of five starts lately for trainer Todd Pletcher - all since switching to grass including the minor Colonial Turf Cup Stakes on June 16, and Allowance Optional Claiming at Gulfstream in March and the Carl G. Rose Classic Handicap at Calder in November. On May 5 Turbo Compressor had his worst result in a while - an eighth in the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic but he won both directly after and before that poor showing. Turbo Compressor cemented his status as favorite for the Sword Dancer last time out with an impressive win last time out in the Grade 1 United Nations Stakes at Monmouth on July 7.

Point of Entry - has won three straight races with relative ease heading into the Sword Dancer and four of his last five including the Grade 1 Man O'War Stakes last time out on July 14 and the Grade 2 Elkhorn on April 27. Before that he won an Allowance at Keeneland March 12th and before that finished fourth and first respectively in Allowance races at Gulfstream. Point of Entry is in terrific form and figures to be a big test for the Sword Dancer field. He is terrific on turf and one of the early favorites this Saturday.

Sword Dancer Invitational Stakes 2012 | Remaining Field Entries

Al Khali - finished third in this race last year and is coming off a decent third last time out in the Grade 1 United Nations. He won the Grade 2 Bowling Green Handicap at Belmont in 2010 and actually finished 2011 off is decent form with a third in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer Invitational and a third in the Grade 1 Northern Dancer Turf Stakes. 2012 hasn't been so kind - he did win an Allowance at Keeneland but also had a 10th in the Grade 1 Donn Handicap, an 11th in the Grade 1 Woodford and a sixth in the Grade 1 Manhattan Handicap before the United Nations.

Tahoe Lake - Brazilian bred Tahoe Lake has been hot and cold in 2012. He had a surprising second in the Grade 3 Sycamore Stakes at Keeneland in October and followed that result up with a second and third respectively in a pair of Allowance races. He went on to finish a very pleasant second to Point of Entry in the Grade 2 Elkhorn but since has a third in the Grade 3 Louisville Handicap, a disappointing seventh in an Allowance Optional Claiming at Belmont on June 29. Tahoe Lake has placed in his last two starts however - a second last time out in the minor John`s Call Sakes here on August 3 was followed by a decent third in the Grade 3 Man O'War Stakes on July 14.

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Newsdad - recently finished a disappointing fifth in the Elkhorn Stakes at Keeneland on April 27 and then followed that up with a fourth in the Man O'War Stakes last time out. He had an impressive victory over Simmard at the Grade 2 Pan American Stakes at Gulfstream in March for his best result this year to follow a close second on February 26 in the Mac Diarmida. Newsdad has failed to place in his last two starts and will be looking to rebound this Saturday.

Game Ball - most recently finished fourth in the John`s Call Stakes here a couple of weeks ago on the heels of a distant seventh in the Man O'War. He has won two Allowance races in 2012 but hasn`t fared well in his stakes races in 2012.

Brilliant Speed - has placed in and won multiple graded stakes races in the last year - the most impressive result being a win in the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes last April. He has placed in just one of his four starts in 2012 - a third at the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Manhattan Handicap on June 9. Brilliant Speed has just three wins in 18 career starts for trainer Thomas Albertrani.

Center Divider - recently finished an impressive second in the Grade 1 Man O'War to follow a disappointing eighth in the Elkhorn and a third in an Allowance race at Keeneland on March 7. Before that Center Divider finished a respectable fourth in the Mac Diarmida. In five starts this year Center Divider has one win, one second and one third place finish.

Hailstone - had some good results at Woodbine before moving South. Hailstone posted a very impressive second in the Grade 2 Pan American Stakes at Gulfstream on March 24 but has struggled since - a fourth in an Allowance Optional Claiming, a fifth in the Grade 2 Brooklyn Handicap on June 8 and a third last time out in the John`s Call Stakes.


2012 Sword Dancer Invitational Stakes Entries & Odds

Race 9 on Saratoga's Saturday card with a Post Time of 5:13 PM.

Post Horse Jockey Trainer ML Odds
1 Al Khali J. Alvarado W. Mott
8-1
2 Point of Entry J. Velazquez C. McGaughey III
5-2
3 Tahoe Lake (BRZ) E. Castro K. McPeek
15-1
4 Newsdad J. Rosario W. Mott
12-1
5 Game Ball J. Espinoza N. Chatterpaul
30-1
6 Center Divider R. Napravnik C. Brown
5-1
7 Hailstone A. Garcia R. Ribaudo
20-1
8 Brilliant Speed J. Castellano T. Albertrani
6-1
9 Turbo Compressor J. Bravo T. Pletcher
2-1

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