08/22/2017 3:22PM

Erupt arrives from France for Sword Dancer

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Michael Burns
The firm-turf-loving Erupt won the Canadian International at Woodbine last year.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Erupt has arrived from France for the Grade 1 Sword Dancer on Saturday and appears to be acclimating just fine judging by his calm demeanor and the way he was rolling around in the deep shavings of his stall after some light exercise Tuesday morning.

Erupt is owned by the Niarchos family and is based outside of Chantilly with trainer Francis-Henri Graffard. He was flown from France to New York on Saturday, vanned to Saratoga, and cleared quarantine Monday morning. He was accompanied by assistant trainer Anthony David and exercise rider Aurellien Bellei.

Graffard, 40, is a graduate of the Darley Flying Start program. He has about 90 horses under his care and has had four prior North American starters. Erupt won the Grade 1 Canadian International by a length for him last October.

Erupt, a 5-year-old Irish homebred by Dubawi, has raced twice at Saint Cloud this year. He has had two very different trips and the results to match.

In the Group 1 Prix Ganay at Saint Cloud in May, he raced in last position early, then finished with a good run to be fourth, beaten a length. In the Group 1 Prix de Saint Cloud in July, he raced midpack outside horses early, tired, and then was eased.

"Erupt is a special horse," David said. "He makes a good run if the ground is firm. He likes the ground very, very firm."

Although Erupt's past performances say the ground was good to soft for both of his races, David said the courses were not similar.

"The ground was firm in the Prix Ganay and more to the soft side in the Prix de Saint Cloud," he said. "In the Prix Ganay he took back and made his run. That is what he wants to do."

Although thunderstorms were possible for Saratoga Tuesday evening, Erupt should get firm footing Saturday as dry weather is forecast through race day.

David said Erupt's serious training for the 1 1/2-mile Sword Dancer was done in France and he will not be asked to do very much this week.

"He worked strong in France before the plane," David said. "He does not need much now."