08/12/2005 11:00PM

King's Drama outduels Relaxed Gesture

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Adam Coglianese/NYRA
King's Drama (right), Jorge Chavez up, withstands a racelong challenge by Relaxed Gesture to win the Sword Dancer Invitational.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - King's Drama had to work harder than his trainer, Bobby Frankel, thought he would have to in order to win Saturday's Grade 1 , but he got the job done, nonetheless.

Facing unexpected pace pressure from Relaxed Gesture, King's Drama won a 12-furlong duel with that rival, taking the $500,000 Sword Dancer by three-quarters of a length before 28,596 at Saratoga. Relaxed Gesture held second by 3 1/4 lengths over Vangelis, also trained by Frankel.

Meteor Storm, Rochester, Dreadnaught, Silverfoot, and Request for Parole completed the order of finish.

It was a breakthrough win for King's Drama, who had gone winless in three previous Grade 1 tries in North America. It was a much-needed victory for jockey Jorge Chavez, who on Friday had broken a 0-for-48 skid in New York going back to July 14.

"I was worried, not frustrated," Chavez said of his recent struggles. "That's the game. I'm not the only jockey to go that way. I know a lot of jockeys like [Angel] Cordero, [Laffit] Pincay; all the best jockeys it happens to them. This is my time to be slow. I hope I pick it up."

On paper, it looked as though King's Drama would get away with an uncontested lead in the Sword Dancer, but a headstrong Relaxed Gesture, under Jose Santos, raced on the lead and dueled inside of King's Drama through fractions of 24.08 seconds, 48.68, 1:14.02, and a mile in 1:38.89.

Entering the far turn, King's Drama began to edge away from Relaxed Gesture. Santos guided Relaxed Gesture to the outside and engaged King's Drama again turning for home. With Chavez going to a strong right-handed whip in deep stretch, King's Drama fended off Relaxed Gesture for the win.

King's Drama, a 5-year-old gelded son of King's Theatre owned by Gary Tanaka, covered the 1 1/2 miles in 2:27.38 over a good inner turf course and returned $6.70 as the favorite.

"I didn't expect [Relaxed Gesture] was going to be there. I was expecting to be by myself," Chavez said. "When I saw the horse was rank with him, I just sat right beside him. I didn't want to move. I was waiting for the last 100 yards, and that's what I did. Finally, when I moved the last 100 yards, my horse responded and it was enough to win the race."

Santos said he was content putting Relaxed Gesture on the lead because, he believes, the horse is one-paced. Santos conceded, however, that Relaxed Gesture is "probably a better horse if he runs a little off the pace.''