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Breeders' Cup 2017

Lukas Chooses Sword Dancer for Optimizer

Optimizer 615 X 400
After toying with the idea of running Optimizer in the Grade 1, $750,000 Whitney Invitational Handicap on dirt August 3, Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas has opted to point his multiple-graded stakes winner toward the Grade 1, $600,000 Sword Dancer Invitational on August 17.

 

That race is a 1 ½-mile grass race, and Lukas said Wednesday morning he is leaning in that direction rather than the Grade 1 Arlington Million the same afternoon at Arlington Park.

 

"I put him in there to take a look at it," Lukas said of nominating Optimizer to the Whitney. "He ran a pretty decent race on the dirt the last time he ran on it."

 

Optimizer, a 5-year-old son of English Channel, won back-to-back Grade 3 turf stakes this past winter at the Fair Grounds. While he has not been to the winner's circle in his past six starts, he finished second to Horse of the Year Wise Dan in the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic on May 4 at Churchill Downs and second to Point of Entry in the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Manhattan on June 8 at Belmont Park.

 

In his most recent start, Optimizer was fifth in the Grade 1 Man o' War on July 13 at Belmont Park, having raced farther off the pace than normally over a turf course labeled "good."

 

"He didn't care for the surface," Lukas said. "He bobbled all the way around there. I didn't like the way he was handling the grass on that particular day. He's run on every kind of surface, every place in the world. He runs every time you lead him over there. I think we'll run in the Sword Dancer."

 

Optimizer's stablemate, Skyring, is preparing for his own confrontation with Wise Dan in the Grade 2, $500,000 Fourstardave Handicap on August 10.
 

 

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Older Comments about Lukas Chooses Sword Dancer for Optimizer...

Oh sure he's run all over the place, D Wayne, hey why not let's just throw him into another. Let's just run him til he drops. Jerk

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