08/08/2011 3:24PM

Saratoga: Winchester looks ready for Sword Dancer after work

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Barbara D. Livingston
Winchester works five furlongs in 59.89 seconds on Monday at Saratoga.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Trainer Christophe Clement is trying to decide whether to run Winchester in Saturday’s Grade 1 Sword Dancer Invitational at Saratoga or give the horse more time and ship him to Southern California for the Grade 2 $200,00 Del Mar Handicap on Aug. 28.

On Monday, Winchester gave his opinion that he’d like to stay home by working a strong five furlongs in 59.89 seconds over the Oklahoma turf course.

“The Sword Dancer is looking pretty good,” Clement said afterward. “I thought he looked very good, it was his first work here on turf.”

Winchester, a dual Grade 1 winner in 2010, is coming off a second-place finish in the Stars and Stripes Handicap at Arlington Park on July 23. If he runs in the Sword Dancer, that means he’ll have just three weeks between races.

The Stars and Stripes, Winchester’s first race since last December’s Hong Kong Vase, was rained off the turf and run over Arlington’s synthetic surface. Winchester closed from 13 lengths back to finish second, beaten two lengths by Free Fighter.

“He ran a good race,” Clement said.

Clement also is considering running Grassy in the Sword Dancer. Grassy, who finished seventh in last year’s Sword Dancer, comes off a neck loss in the Singspiel Stakes at Woodbine on June 26.