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2016 sword dancer stakes preview entries and odds


The Grade 1 Sword Dancer Stakes is on tap for this Saturday, August 27 at Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, New York. A handsome purse of $1 million will be on the line for horses three years old and upward willing to go 1 1/2 miles on Saratoga's turf track.

Seven older entries will take to the track in the Sword Dancer - race 10 in Saratoga's stacked Travers Stakes Saturday schedule. Post time is 4:49 PM. Let's take a look into the past performances of all seven combatants for this lucrative Grade 1 stakes - a "Win and You're In" qualifier for the Breeders' Cup Longines Turf on Nov. 5 at Santa Anita Park .

2016 Sword Dancer Stakes Race Preview at Saratoga Race Course

Flintshire 1-5 - defending champion by a commanding 2 1/2 lengths in this race - impressive British bred entry won the Group 1 Grand Prix de Paris in 2013 and has been impressive since - consecutive wins ahead of this weekend in the Grade 2 Bowling Green Stakes on this track July 30 and the Grade 1 Manhattan Stakes at Belmont Park June 11 followed a second in the Group 1 Hong Kong Vase in December (a race he won in 2014), a second in the Group 1 Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in France, a win in the 2015 Sword Dancer Stakes in August and a second in his only other North American start - behind the terrific Main Sequence in the 2014 Breeders' Cup Turf. Flintshire now has seven wins, 10 seconds and a third place finish in 21 career starts - as competitive as they come at a huge variety of tracks around the world and will be out to keep an impressive string of results going from gate 6. Javier Castellano rides the overwhelming morning line favorite.

Grand Tito 8-1 - won the 2014 Grade 1 Miami Mile in April and has been up and down since. He won the minor Miesque's Approval Stakes at Gulfstream last July 5 and started his year with an $100,000 Allowance Optional Claiming score at Gulfstream in February and a win in the Grade 2 Mac Diarmida Stakes on that track in March. He also has numerous runner-up finishes the last while - the Grade 2 Bernard Baruch Handicap September 7, the 2015 Miami Mile, the Grade 3 Canadian Turf February 21, 2015 and in the Grade 2 Ft. Lauderdale Stakes in January of last year included. He also has four thirds the last two years - one coming three starts back in the Grade 2 Pan American Stakes at Gulfstream April 2. Last time out was a respectable second behind Flintshire in the Grade 2 Bowling Green Stakes here July 30 after a fourth in the Grade 1 Manhattan Stakes in June. Grand Tito has placed in four of his last five starts overall and enters in OK form. He hopes to snap a three race losing streak from the rail Saturday with Jose Ortiz in the reins of then co-second choice.

Money Multiplier 8-1 - has three wins, five seconds and a third place finish in 12 career starts for trainer Chad Brown. He broke maiden at Belmont Park last May in his fourth career starts and went on to a couple of good runner-up finishes - the Grade 3 Kent Stakes last July and the Grade 3 Saranac Stakes in September. He struggled after that however - a seventh in the Grade 3 Hill Prince Stakes here in October and an eighth in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby in November. He has been good in his last four starts however - an Allowance Optional Claiming score last time out on this track August 5 followed consecutive runner-up finishes - the Grade 1 United Nations Stakes at Monmouth Park July 3 and behind Wake Forest in the Grade 1 Man o' War Stakes at Belmont Park May 14 and an Allowance score at Aqueduct April 15. Money Multiplier has been decent but will still be chasing his first stakes score Saturday. Irad Ortiz has been tabbed to ride the other co-second choice from gate 2.

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Twilight Eclipse 10-1 - defending third place finisher in this race is still the world record holder at 1 1/2 miles on turf when he won the Grade 2 William McKnight Handicap December 28, 2013 in wire-to-wire fashion by seven lengths. He's placed in 13 of 17 races ahead of this weekend - a third last time out behind Flintshire and Grand Tito in the Grade 2 Bowling Green Stakes on this track July 30 followed an Allowance score at Belmont Park July 8, a third in the minor Belmont Gold Cup Invitational and three poor results - a sixth in the Grade 3 Elkhorn Stakes at Keeneland in April, a seventh in the Grade 2 Mac Diarmida Stakes at Gulfstream March 5 and an eighth in November in the Breeders' Cup Turf. Before the Breeders' Cup were third place finishes in three straight races - the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic, the Grade 1 Sword Dancer August 29 and the Grade 1 United Nations Stakes July 5. His last graded stakes score came in the Grade 1 Man o' War Stakes May 9, 2015. Twilight Eclipse has been OK lately and will be after his first graded stakes score (second overall) in 16 months from gate 4. John Velazquez has been tabbed with accomplishing that goal.

Roman Approval 20-1 - has placed in five of seven graded stakes tries for trainer Michael Maker but has yet to post a win against top company. He enters off consecutive seconds - an Allowance Optional Claiming last time out on this track August 5 and the Grade 3 Arlington Handicap July 9 after a fourth in an Allowance Optional Claiming at Belmont Park June 11, a third in the Grade 3 Louisville Handicap May 21, a sixth in the Grade 3 Muniz Memorial Handicap in March and seconds in the Grade 3 Fair Grounds Handicap in March and the Grade 3 Colonel E. R. Bradley Handicap in January. Roman Approval has been knocking on the door and will be out to post his first graded stakes win and first victory overall since November from post 3. Florent Geroux gets the mount.

Inordinate 30-1 - Chad Brown trained colt has 10 career starts with two wins, a second and three third place finishes. He placed in five of seven starts in Europe to start his career including a third in a pair of Group 3 races last summer - he has been less-than-spectacular in three starts in the United States. He enters off consecutive fifth place finishes - both Allowance Optional Claiming races with the last coming on this track July 23 and a third in a similar race at Aqueduct in April. Inordinate hasn't been all that impressive but will be out to make a little noise from post 5 Saturday. Aaron Gryder will be in the reins.

Applicator 30-1 - has 17 career starts for trainer Mikhail Yanakov with just two wins, a second and a third place finish. He enters off a seventh in his graded stakes debut - the Grade 1 Belmont Derby Invitational July 9 after a career best effort - a win in the minor Gleaming Stakes at Gulfstream May 28 and failing to place in his previous seven starts. Outside of one start Applicator hasn't been great but leaves from the outside post 7 with Leonel Reyes guiding him.

Boxing betting belfast star frampton has little to gain and everything to lose against santa cruz




The whole concept of a rematch in boxing has always seemed strange to me. It always begs the question: "Why?" What exactly is going to be different?

The way big fights are sold, they are defining events. Both fighters talk the talk, they needle each other, they promise everything will be settled in the ring. So why, once it has been, do you try to settle it again?

It's a bit like the kid in the playground who agrees to settle a row on the toss of a coin, then when he's called heads and the penny lands showing tails asks for best of three.

So I don't quite know what's in it for Carl Frampton to be facing Leo Santa Cruz for a second time when they top the bill at the MGM Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday night. A good purse, obviously. And the chance to enhance his already burgeoning reputation. But beyond that the Belfast fighter has little to gain and plenty to lose.

Now it should be clear that Frampton had little choice but to take this fight. His contract for their first meeting in New York back in July had a clause guaranteeing a rematch and Santa Cruz invoked it within hours of losing his WBA Super Featherweight title.

And he goes into the ring as the clear [1.74] favourite in the match odds to win a second time and so move on to even bigger and better things. Yesterday he became only the fourth non-American to be named Fighter of the Year by the Boxing Writers Association of America, and his box office appeal in the States can only grow with another victory over the previously undefeated Mexican.

But what if it doesn't work out like that? Let's not forget that Santa Cruz was a big favourite going into their first meeting in July, and the fight itself was a classic before Frampton finally won on points.

There's also a big and worrying difference this time that the Mexican has had a far better training camp preparing for the big night.

Last time his father and mentor missed much of the preparation because he was undergoing chemotherapy treatment after a cancer scare. Santa Cruz, not surprisingly, was affected by that worry.

This time his dad, thankfully given a clean bill of health, has been with him all through the build-up and believes he has refined the tactics to give his boy Leo a better chance. "I won't be the same guy," Santa Cruz has promised. "I wasn't the same mentally last time because of my dad. I didn't want to realise it then, but having him here and healthy this time has pushed me."

Santa Cruz is [4.1] to win by a decision in the method of victory market and I can't help feeling that looks the best value bet. The Mexican has been a triple weight world champion, and defended titles successfully in 11 of 12 contests. He is a hugely dangerous opponent.

Frampton ought now to be fighting Gary Russell Junior, or Lee Selby, or Oscar Valdez, to unify more of the titles. Instead he's risking all he's gained in a contest from which he can only stand still or go backwards.