08/14/2010 6:12PM

Telling repeats in Sword Dancer - this time at 10-1

Barbara D. Livingston
Telling wns the Grade 1 Sword Dancer as a longshot for the second year in a row.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - From the time he left the Saratoga winner’s circle last August, trainer Steve Hobby thought about bringing back Telling for another crack at the Sword Dancer Invitational.

Hobby and his 6-year-old horse executed the plan to perfection Saturday at Saratoga, as Telling, under Garrett Gomez, rallied along the rail in midstretch and outfinished Bearpath to win the $500,000 Sword Dancer Invitational for the second consecutive year, this time by 1 1/2 lengths. Bearpath finished second by 1 1/4 lengths over Al Khali. They were followed in the order of finish by Interpatation, Expansion, the 9-5 favorite, Grand Couturier, Grassy, Rom, and Marlang.

Telling, a son of A.P. Indy, became the fifth horse to win the Sword Dancer in back-to-back years joining Majesty’s Prince (1983-84), El Senor (1989-90), With Anticipation (2001-02), and Grand Couturier (2007-08).

“It’s tremendous, indescribable, something we shot at from the last time,” said Hobby, who trains Telling for owners Alex and JoAnne Lieblong. “To make it work is really amazing a year later. It was the goal all year.”

Telling was the beneficiary of a good ride from Gomez, who was riding Telling for the first time.

Gomez had Telling in fifth position and in the clear after the opening half-mile, as Marlang set the pace chased by Interpatation and Al Khali, with Expansion saving ground along the inside. Midway up the backstretch, Kent Desormeaux moved Al Khali up to put a little pressure on Marlang, but Gomez decided to bide his time.

Gomez made his move midway around the far turn - about the time Al Khali went after the lead - and after going around a tiring Marlang, Gomez guided Telling back to the inside for the stretch drive. It may have been the key to victory.

“When he dove to the fence it’s like he found new life, its like his heart jumped up in him and he went to running,” Gomez said.

Telling made the lead inside the eighth pole and he easily outfinished Bearpath, who was attempting to rally three wide in the stretch.

Last year, Telling won the Sword Dancer by two lengths, running 1 1/2 miles in 2:25.43 and returned $68 as the longest shot on the board. Saturday, he ran the distance 2:25.29 and returned $22.60 as the 10-1 sixth choice in the nine-horse field.

The victory was special for Gomez, who said the first horse he rode in a recognized race in 1988 was for Gerald Hobby, Steve’s dad. That horse lost.

“I said you can tell dad we want this one front and center,” Gomez said.