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Brilliant Speed Tries Luck in Sword Dancer

Brilliant Speed (no. 5), ridden by Joel Rosario and trained by Thomas Albertrani, wins the 87th running of the grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes for three year olds on April 16, 2011 at Keeneland in Lexington, Kentucky. (Bob Mayberger/Eclipse Sportswire)

Brilliant Speed has not won a race since last September, when the Live Oak Plantation homebred scored in the Grade 3 Saranac at Saratoga Race Course. Since then, he has run six times, five in Grade 1 turf stakes races, and not found his way to the winner’s circle.


This, despite strong third-place finishes in the Breeders’ Cup Turf and Turf Classic, both at Churchill Downs. With the year beginning to get late, trainer Tom Albertrani is hoping Brilliant Speed, a son of Dynaformer, can realize his potential and win the Grade 1, $600,000 Sword Dancer at 1 ½ miles August 18 on the turf at Saratoga.


“He likes the course, and, hopefully, that’s horses for courses,” Albertrani said Wednesday morning. “He’s training well. He had a really good work yesterday [five furlongs in 1:01.71 on the main track] and had a nice gallop-out past the wire, so he’s in good form.”


A cursory examination of Brilliant Speed’s form doesn’t show the true nature of his races. In the Turf Classic, the speedy Little Mike galloped around the course on an uncontested lead, while Brilliant Speed was steadied at the three-eighths pole. In his most recent start, the Grade 1 United Nations at Monmouth, Turbo Compressor was another isolated speed horse, and jockey Joel Rosario elected to take Brilliant Speed well off the pace.


Turbo Compressor sauntered through the first six furlongs of the 1 3/8-mile race in 1:15 and rolled to an easy 1 ¾-length victory. Brilliant Speed came home, one-paced, in sixth place.


“The horse places himself,” Albertrani said. “For some reason, Joel tried to take him back, and he was fighting him the whole way. Let the horse run his own race.


“It’s been a little frustrating this year,” Albertrani said of having failed to win with a 4-year-old that already has earned more than $1.1 million. “I can forgive him the first time [in the Grade 3 Appleton in March at a mile at Gulfstream Park]. We ran him a little short. The second race at Churchill was a good effort, and he got caught again in a slow pace. He doesn’t quicken; he’s a one-paced type of horse. So he needs a quick pace.”


Albertrani wants Brilliant Speed to give him a reason to start pointing again for the Breeders’ Cup Turf. He wants to see a breakout performance.


“I know I have a good horse; it’s just a matter of when he decides to put his best foot forward,” Albertrani said. “He’ll fire big one of these days. He hasn’t gone 1 ½ miles since the Breeders’ Cup. The United Nations, just throw that out. This [the Sword Dancer] is more his distance.” 


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