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Winchester Works Well at Saratoga

Three-time Grade 1 winner Winchester worked five furlongs over the Oklahoma turf course Monday morning, covering the distance in 59.89 in preparation for a possible start in the Grade 1, $500,000 Sword Dancer Invitational run at 1 ½ miles on the turf on Saturday.


“He worked well,” trainer Christophe Clement said of the Bertram Firestone homebred, who last year won the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational and Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Manhattan Handicap at Belmont Park . “He went at 8:45 on the grass, just after the jumpers.  It was not too late and the turf was spectacular. I will speak to Mr. Firestone later on, but Winchester is very much in consideration for the Sword Dancer, as is Grassy, and I will make a final decision Wednesday morning knowing a bit more about the forecast.”


Grassy, who won the Grade 2 Red Smith Handicap at Aqueduct last November, worked five furlongs over the Oklahoma turf in 1:01.44 on Friday. A 5-year-old son of El Prado, he is campaigned by Claiborne Farm and Adele B. Dilschneider.


“We’ve got a few options, but at the moment both horses are being trained for the Sword Dancer,” Clement said. “I would say Winchester most probably, Grassy is 50-50 according to the weather. The more rain, the better for Grassy. That’s where we are.”


Clement is preparing to ship reigning Champion Turf Male Gio Ponti to Arlington Park on Wednesday to make his third start in Saturday’s Grade 1 Arlington Million, a race he won in 2009 and was beaten a half-length in last year.  The champion son of Tale of the Cat will travel with Cheetah, winner of two of three starts in the U.S. , who is pointing toward the Grade 1 Beverly D., also on Saturday.



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