Telling demonstrated his affinity for
Saratoga Race Course on Saturday by rallying along the inside to win the Grade
1, $500,000 Sword Dancer Invitational for the second straight year.
Deftly ridden by Garrett Gomez, Telling received a clear trip as he raced
in midpack behind fractions of 48.27 and 1:13.23. Asked to pick it up on the
far turn, the 6-year-old split two opponents at the head of the lane, cut back
inside for his stretch run, and outkicked Bearpath to register a 1 ½-length
“When they quickened up the backside, I was having a little
trouble telling how fast they were actually going and deciding whether or not
to go after the leaders at that point,” said Gomez. “But my horse
was bobbling a bit so I decided to switch him to the outside a little and
wait. When we turned for home, the horse in front of us dropped off. I
just dove toward the fence, and it was like he found new life. He’s
just one of those horses that stays on really well going a mile and a
Telling, a 10-1 outsider in the field of 9, rewarded his backers in the
crowd of 30,210 with a $22.60 payout for a $2 win wager, negotiating the 1 ½
miles over the Inner Turf Course in 2:25.29.
Sixth last time out in the Grade 1 United Nations at Monmouth Park
on July 3, Telling was seeking his first victory since upsetting last
year’s Sword Dancer at 33-1. His trainer Steve Hobby, however, believed
his charge was rounding back into form just in time for a title defense.
“[Gomez] sure chose the right way – that’s the one
thing I told him, that he probably prefers the outside than being in, but
it’s not something I’d make a drastic change to do,” said
Hobby. “It’s tremendous to win again – it’s something
we had aimed at from the last time, and to make it work a year later is really
Telling, whose record now stands at 6-4-4 from 23 starts, earned
$300,000 to improve his bankroll to $831,049. The son of A.P. Indy was bred in Kentucky by Darley.
Al Khali, who led at the top of the stretch, held off Interpatation by
a length to finish third. Completing the order of the finish were Expansion,
the 9-5 favorite; Grand Couturier, winner of this race in 2007 and 2008; Grassy;
Romp; and Marlang.