08/27/2016 5:51PM

Flintshire rides the rail to Sword Dancer repeat victory

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Michael Amoruso
Flintshire, with Javier Castellano aboard, wins the Sword Dancer Invitational by 1 3/4 lengths Saturday.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Flintshire combined his own brilliance and an assist from a stablemate to record his second straight victory in Saturday’s Grade 1, $1 million Sword Dancer Invitational at Saratoga.

As far as 13 1/2 lengths back at one stage, Flintshire rode the rail to victory, exploding through the final three-sixteenths of a mile. He got a big assist from Aaron Gryder on the pacemaker Inordinate, who moved off the inside, creating room for Flintshire to explode through in the final quarter of a mile.

Flintshire beat another stablemate, Money Multiplier, by 1 3/4 lengths. It was 2 3/4 lengths farther back to Twilight Eclipse, who finished third in this race for the third consecutive year.

Flintshire, a 6-year-old son of Dansili owned and bred by Juddmonte Farms, improved his record to 8 for 22 and increased his earnings to $8,809,910. Flintshire became the sixth horse to score repeat victories in the Sword Dancer, joining Majesty’s Prince (1983-84), El Senor (1989-90), With Anticipation (2001-02), Grand Couturier (2007-8), and Telling (2009-10).

By virtue of his victory in the Sword Dancer, Flintshire earned a fees-paid berth to the $4 million Breeders' Cup Turf at Santa Anita on Nov. 5.

 “He’s an exceptional racehorse. He’s all class. We’re just lucky to have him,” said winning trainer Chad Brown, who also trains Money Multiplier. “Best turn of foot I’ve ever seen.”

After having to overcome a pedestrian pace to win the Grade 2 Bowling Green, Brown and Juddmonte decided to enter Inordinate as a pacemaker, or “rabbit,” in the race. Inordinate, also owned by Juddmonte, was allowed to run as a separate betting interest despite his sole purpose of being a rabbit for Flintshire.

Inordinate broke last, but Gryder pumped hard on him to get in front of Roman Approval through fractions of 23.18 seconds for the quarter, 46.16 for the half-mile, 1:11.04 for six furlongs, and 1:36.11 for a mile.

Jockey Javier Castellano kept Flintshire in the back, inside of Twilight Eclipse, early. Castellano advanced Flintshire along the inside entering and around the far turn.

It was clear that Castellano had plenty of horse, but he needed room. At the quarter pole, Gryder looked to his inside and saw Flintshire coming. He guided Inordinate off the rail, forcing Roman Approval to check, and Flintshire zipped on through the opening. He ran his last quarter in just over 22 seconds to get the win.

“I think I give a little bit of credit to the pacemaker. He helped the pace to go a little faster; very lucky to cut through the rail and accelerate,” Castellano said. “I’ve never seen any horses like this on the grass that have great acceleration. I’m very fortunate to ride those kinds of horses.”

Flintshire covered the 1 1/2 miles in 2:23.45 and returned $2.40 to win. The course and stakes record for 1 1/2 miles is 2:23.20, set by Awad in 1997.

Mike Maker, the trainer of Roman Approval, who finished sixth, lodged an objection against Inordinate, who finished a half-length in front of him, for interference at the top of the stretch. The stewards disallowed the claim.