Flintshire Dominant Again in Sword Dancer
By Jeremy Balan, courtesy of Blood-Horse
Juddmonte Farms' Flintshire got the most patient of rides from jockey Javier Castellano, shot through on the rail at the top of the stretch, and easily held off a late drive from Money Multiplier to dominate once again on U.S. soil in the $1 million Longines Sword Dancer (gr. I) Aug. 27 at Saratoga Race Course.
The 6-year-old Dansili horse trailed the field for much of the 1 1/2-mile trek, then moved up in the final turn, but had nowhere to run behind a wall of horses. Then Juddmonte stablemate Inordinate, who set fast fractions early in the race, appeared to make a sharp move to his right under jockey Aaron Gryder to open up space for the 1-5 favorite.
"I am very lucky and fortunate," Castellano said. "The way I rode this horse, (I tried) to save some ground. Everyone ended up in the same position and I had to make my own decision and use my best judgment and it worked out. I was very lucky to go and cut through on the rail and accelerate. He is a phenomenal horse. I've never seen any horse with that much acceleration on the grass."
With clear sailing on the inside, the Chad Brown-trained Flintshire broke away from the pack with ease and hit the wire in 2:23.45 on firm turf, unthreatened by the field late. An inquiry was filed by Mike Maker, the trainer of Roman Approval, who was contacted at the top of the lane by Inordinate, but no change was made.
Inordinate set fractions of :23.18, :46.16, 1:11.04, and 1:36.11 through a mile and Grand Tito took over to run 1 1/4 miles in 2:00.74.
"Aaron Gryder did a fabulous job as the pacesetter," Brown said. "Still, (Flintshire) had trouble in the back. Javier decided to go on the inside and it turned out to be the right decision. I've never seen anything like him outside of Lady Eli. He's the greatest horse I've ever seen."
The margin of victory was 1 3/4 lengths, and Money Multiplier was another 2 3/4 lengths clear of Twilight Eclipse. Grand Tito, Inordinate, Roman Approval, and Applicator completed the order of finish.
The winner paid $2.40 to win and $2.10 to place. Show betting was not offered. Money Multiplier brought $2.90 to place.
It was Flintshire's fourth straight U.S. win, following last year's Sword Dancer, the June 11 Woodford Reserve Manhattan (gr. IT), and the July 30 Bowling Green (gr. IIT).
Watch the 2016 Longines Sword Dancer replay: