Sadler’s Joy the pick in Sword Dancer

Aug 23, 2018 by James Scully/

Saratoga will offer a blockbuster program Saturday featuring seven stakes races including the $1.25 million Travers Stakes for three-year-olds. For betting purposes, let’s focus on the $1 million Sword Dancer Stakes one race prior to the Travers (10th race).

Sadler’s Joy (#10) is my top selection. The five-year-old horse will make will make a title defense in the Sword Dancer and brings a ferocious finishing kick to the 1 1/2-mile turf affair. A confirmed closer who he is going to take back early and make one big run in the latter stages, Sadler’s Joy took advantage of a contested pace battle last year when rallying boldly through the stretch to score and loves the Saratoga inner turf course and distance.

With the presence of expected front-runners Glorious Empire, Funtastic and Hi Happy on Saturday, Sadler’s Joy appears poised to receive a similar set-up to last year. That benefits his chances and we can expect to see the Tom Albertrani-trained chestnut advancing into contention on the far turn.

Sadler's Joy has won twice previously over the inner turf at Saratoga, breaking his maiden in convincing fashion in 2016 before returning last year for the Sword Dancer. And the high-class performer has posted half of his career wins at the 1 1/2-mile distance.

Javier Castellano took over the mount on Sadler’s Joy two starts back and has placed both times, finishing a close second and a close third. Look for the third time to be the charm with the Eclipse Award-winning jockey.

With a stout turn of foot, Sadler’s Joy will finish up best of all to win Saturday’s Sword Dancer at Saratoga.

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