SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence’s Annals of Time deployed a strong kick in the stretch and arrived right on schedule, winning Saturday’s $850,000 Sword Dancer Stakes (G1) at Saratoga as the field hit the wire.
The Sword Dancer is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” event, with Annals of Time receiving an automatic berth in the Longines Turf at Santa Anita Park this November.
Breaking from post 7 under Javier Castellano as the 5/2 co-favorite, Annals of Time took back and watched from afar. Tiz Morning tried to set the pace out of the gate, but Channel Maker and a keen Ya Primo wrestled it from him as the field hit the far turn for the first time.
Once settled, Channel Maker and Ya Primo took turns setting fractions of :23.36, :47.96, 1:1482, and 1:40.52 through the opening mile. Meanwhile, near the rear of the strung-out field, Annals of Time continued to rate along the inside of the 2017 Sword Dancer champion Sadler’s Joy.
Heading into the far turn for the second time, Sadler’s Joy made his move and Castellano tipped out Annals of Time to follow behind him. Set down for the stretch drive, Annals of Time ranged up alongside Sadler’s Joy as they swept past the front-runners.
Continuing to stride powerfully through to the wire, the Chad Brown-trained Annals of Time crossed a neck ahead of Sadler’s Joy in a final time of 2:27.50 for the 1 1/2-mile event over the firm turf course.
“He’s a good horse,” Castellano said. “I don’t know if I’ve seen a horse that, no matter if the pace is slow or fast, he always finishes really well. I’m very proud of him. Some horses have to have pace in the race, but this horse doesn’t need one. You can see the pace was very slow, but he still responded and passed all the horses. I took my time. It’s a mile and a 1/2 and it’s the first time he’s gone a mile and a 1/2. You don’t want to rush it to be close to the pace. I rode with a lot of patience and it paid off today.”
Sadler’s Joy was unable to hold off Annals of Time at the wire and had to settle for second under Jose Lezcano.
“He broke good in a spot where I wanted to be,” Lezcano said. “The last 1/8, he gave me a good race. He ran hard. He gave me his race. We just came up short.”
Channel Cat sat in a close stalking position early and held the lead at one point in the stretch, but he couldn’t withstand the late rallying duo who passed him and he settled for third by a 1/2-length over Channel Maker. Noble Thought took fifth over Pillar Mountain, while behind them came Proven Reserves, Tiz Morning, and a spent Ya Primo to complete the order of finish.
Annals of Time’s win was his second straight, following an allowance victory here on July 24, and his second at the graded level after winning the Hollywood Derby (G1) in 2016. The 6-year-old son of Temple City raced just once between the Hollywood Derby and an allowance event at Belmont Park on June 7 due to recurring injuries. Now finally appearing healthy, Annals of Time heads to the Breeders’ Cup with a record of 8-5-2-1 and $860,300 earned.
“When he tipped out, I thought we had a good chance because he has a really good, strong closing kick, but it was a little tight near the finish,” Brown said. “I’m glad he got up in time. It’s been a real team effort. A guy named Nick de Meric down in Ocala picked him out as a baby, and every time he has gone to the sidelines, he’s gone to rehab with him and his team. He sent him back to us, now as a 6-year-old, in fine shape. We finally have had an uninterrupted training schedule and campaign with him. He’s back to his old form when he won the Hollywood Derby when he was a 3-year-old. He’s probably better now, so I’m just so grateful to have him back healthy.”
Annals of Time returned $7.10 to win, $4.20 to place, and $3.20 to show. Sadler’s Joy brought back $5.10 to place and $3.20 to show, while Channel Cat paid $4 to show.