Updated on 09/16/2011 7:58AM

Is it Denon or With Anticipation?


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - It looks like a game of copycat. With Anticipation and Denon just ran one-two in the United Nations Handicap at Monmouth Park on July 6. They came back and worked July 25 at Saratoga, with Denon going five furlongs, With Anticipation six. And on Wednesday morning at Saratoga, the two turf stars headed over at the same time to the main track, where, just after the renovation break, Denon worked a half-mile, With Anticipation five furlongs.

With Anticipation's trainer, Jonathan Sheppard, and Bobby Frankel, who trains Denon, stood near one another as their horses breezed. It was their final works for their scheduled rematch in Saturday's Grade 1, $500,000 Sword Dancer Invitational at 1 1/2 miles. Sheppard joked with Frankel that this would be a test of their training, to see whether those extra furlongs Sheppard has put into With Anticipation would make the difference.

"But then we agreed it would probably come down to which horse is better," Sheppard said.

With Anticipation finished strongly in his drill, inhaling a workmate, and completed five furlongs in 1:03.03, breezing, with exercise rider Kate Fitzpatrick.

"He looked good," Sheppard said. "I wanted him to go in 1:01 and change, as opposed to 1:03, but he went in company, so he'll get more out of it than if he went alone. Horses are more anxious when they work in company. So even though the time is not as fast, they get more out of it because they're trying to beat the other horse."

With Anticipation has raced on turf recently, but has made 28 of his 40 starts on dirt, and he seemed far more comfortable on that surface Wednesday than did Denon.

"He's got a tremendous stride reaching out," Sheppard said. "He covers a lot of ground."

With Anticipation is the defending champion in the Sword Dancer, which he won by three-quarters of a length last year. He beat Denon by a neck in the United Nations.

Denon's work was timed in 49.82 seconds, breezing, for a half-mile. Frankel had instructed jockey Rudy Rodriguez to go in 50 seconds.

"I told him he's fired," Frankel said, joking. "That was a good work for him. He looked good going by me."

Frankel said he thought Denon could have beaten With Anticipation in the United Nations, but that Denon was compromised when bumped on the final turn by Sarafan.

Clement may bypass Sword Dancer

With horses such as Cetewayo, Denon, and With Anticipation among those heading to the Sword Dancer, trainer Christophe Clement might sit this one out. He has both Craigsteel and the filly Volga invited to the race, but on Wednesday morning he said neither was likely to run.

"I am not running anything," he said. "If it is raining, I will run Craigsteel."

The forecast is for warm weather, but no rain, through the weekend.

Others expected for the Sword Dancer are Eltawaasul, Grammarian, Hawkeye, Man From Wicklow, Rhythm Band, Startac, Volponi, and Whitmore's Conn. Eltawaasul breezed five furlongs in 1:03.20 on the Oklahoma turf course on Wednesday morning.

Migliore takes off Wednesday mounts

Jockey Richard Migliore, who was injured in an accident in Sunday's Jim Dandy Stakes, choose to take off his mounts at Saratoga on Wednesday, but was hopeful of returning on Thursday.

Migliore said the swelling on his right arm had gone down, but that it was still a little sore.

He made the decision to not ride on Wednesday after working a horse that morning. Migliore, accompanied by trainer John Kimmel on a pony, warmed up the filly Cozie Advantage, then took her for a half-mile work on the Oklahoma turf course in 47.85 seconds.

Labamta Babe nearing return

Labamta Babe, who went to the sidelines in the spring with a minor suspensory injury after appearing to be one of the nation's leading 3-year-olds, is nearing a return, which could come in the Grade 1 King's Bishop Stakes on the Travers Stakes undercard Aug. 24, according to Frankel, his trainer.

"He's about ready to run," Frankel said. "There's a chance I might run in the King's Bishop, especially if that race is without Came Home."

The connections of Came Home on Wednesday said they were going to remain in California and race Came Home in the Aug. 25 Pacific Classic, rather than to go Saratoga for the King's Bishop.

Stephentown injured, done for the year

Stephentown, whose press clippings always seemed to be about two lengths in front of his accomplishments, is done for the year after being injured in the Jim Dandy, according to his trainer, Tony Reinstedler.

"He came out of the race lame, but the extent is under question," said Reinstedler, who described the injury as being "a bone issue, but not a fracture.

"You won't see him for awhile. He'll probably have the rest of the year off," Reinstedler said. "When he's sound, he's good, but getting him sound is a difficult task."

Reinstedler's other Jim Dandy entrant, Peekskill, will "be freshened and point for the fall," Reinstedler said.

Ibn Al Haitham breaks through on turf

Ibn Al Haitham, who was placed in graded stakes races but remained a maiden through eight starts, broke through for his first victory with a powerful performance on Wednesday, crushing maidens by 9 1/2 lengths in his first start on turf.

Ibn Al Haitham moved strongly on the turn to go from fourth to first, had an eight-length lead a furlong out, and cruised home under jockey Jerry Bailey. He was timed in 2:14.35 for 1 3/8 miles on the firm inner course.

Eoin Harty trained Ibn Al Haitham last year at age 2, when he finished second in the Norfolk Stakes to stablemate Essence of Dubai, before finishing ninth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. This year, while trained by Saeed bin Suroor, Ibn Al Haitham was third in the United Arab Emirates Derby, and was fifth in the Peter Pan Stakes.

But after finishing sixth of seven in a Belmont Park maiden race on July 7, Ibn Al Haitham was transferred to trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, and moved from the Godolphin Racing Inc. banner. He raced on Wednesday in the maroon colors of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, one of the principal participants in Godolphin.

McLaughlin said he put Ibn Al Haitham on turf because of his pedigree. He is by Zafonic, and is out of the Snow Knight mare Awaasif.

"I've had him about a month," McLaughlin said. "He wasn't quite up to Godolphin's standards, but he's not too far removed if they want him back. He was impressive."