by NYRA Press Release
August 26, 2017
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Woodslane Farm's Sadler's Joy overtook Money Multiplier and Bigger Picture, surging in deep stretch for a thrilling win in the Grade 1, $1 million Sword Dancer as part of the Travers Day undercard Saturday at Saratoga Race Course.
The 4-year-old Kitten's Joy colt punched his ticket to the $4 million Grade 1 Longines Breeders' Cup Turf on November 4 at Del Mar, staying off the pace before gaining command in the final furlong and holding off Money Multiplier in the final jumps to win the 43rd running of the Sword Dancer.
Idaho, the 7-5 post-time favorite, and Frank Conversation dueled for the lead, with the former going a quarter-mile in 24.42 seconds and the half in 49.17. Out of the final turn, jockey Julien Leparoux piloted Sadler's Joy to the outside to win by a half length, completing 1 ½ miles on firm turf in 2:24.58.
"He just kind of broke and spooked at something coming out of the gate," Leparoux said. "The main thing after that was to have a good pace, which we did, and I was in the back and he was doing it pretty easy; traveling very well. Then he came home very fast and by the middle of the stretch I thought I could get them. He ran a big race and he's a good horse and he's one I think we will hear from even more for the rest of the year. He's really improved."
The win was the first of the Saratoga meet for trainer Tom Albertrani, who saw Sadler's Joy finish on the board for the ninth consecutive start and sixth straight race against graded stakes competition.
"Yeah, million-dollar duck, I guess," Albertrani said of his first victory. "At the beginning, He kind of propped leaving there and Julien said he didn't know what happened. He kind of just stalled on the break and then when he got going he felt really happy with the place he was in and felt that the pace was honest and he didn't panic and just waited for the right moment to push the button."
Sadler's Joy notched his first win since the Grade 2 Pan American on April 1 at Gulfstream Park. Off at 7-1, he paid $16 on a $2 win wager. The come-from-behind win made him an official millionaire, boosting his career bankroll to $1,002,968.
"He [Leparoux] has ridden him well every time. We had some misfortune, maybe, in the Man o' War when we got boxed in the whole race, but that's racing luck. Today he showed that kick. This horse has that tremendous kick and he did it today."
Albertrani said the Grade 1, $500,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic at Belmont Park on September 30 could be the next spot before Sadler's Joy runs in the Breeders' Cup.
Money Multiplier, off a win in the Grade 2 Monmouth July 30, overcame a difficult start to finish in the top-two for the seventh time in nine starts. The Chad Brown trainee was the Sword Dancer runner-up for a second straight year after falling just short to stablemate Flintshire in last summer's edition.
"He ran huge," Brown said. "I'm real proud of his effort. He didn't break that well; I thought he'd be on or near the lead. Javier [Castellano] went to 'Plan B' and the horse relaxed nicely and he ran really, really well. The winner made the last move and ran terrific as well."
Four of the race's seven entries started in last month's Grade 2 Bowling Green, won by Hunter O'Riley with Bigger Picture just a neck behind. In the rematch, Bigger Picture got up for third.
Hunter O'Riley finished fourth while the race's two European shippers, Erupt and Idaho, completed the order of finish.
"I don't know, maybe the pace was a bit slow for him," said T.J. Comerford, assistant to Idaho trainer Aidan O'Brien. "He just ran a little disappointing for us, that's all. He'll go home now and Aidan will decide what he's going to do with him."