Updated on 09/17/2011 11:10AM

Waiting pays for 'Whitmore'

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Whitmore's Conn pulls away to win the Grade 1 Sword Dancer.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - With a half-mile left to run in Saturday's $500,000 , Whitmore's Conn dropped back to last and trainer Randy Schulhofer dropped his head.

"I said, 'Oh, no, look at this, he's not going to fire,' " Schulhofer said. "I was very worried."

Around the far turn, Whitmore's Conn began to pick it up, lifting Schulhofer's spirits.

"I was getting excited - it looked like he was fired out of a cannon," Schulhofer said.

Despite having to rally seven wide down the stretch under Jean-Luc Samyn, Whitmore's Conn exploded past favored Denon inside the sixteenth pole and held off Macaw at the wire to win the Grade 1 Sword Dancer by 1 1/4 lengths before 33,153 at Saratoga. It was a neck back to Slew Valley in third. Denon, the 2-1 favorite, finished fourth.

The victory was the second straight graded stakes win for Whitmore's Conn, and the first Grade 1 victory recorded by Schulhofer, the son of Hall of Famer Scotty Schulhofer, since he went out on his own for a third time in 2001.

Whitmore's Conn, sent off at 24-1 in the contentious 11-horse field, returned $51.50 to win and keyed a $511 exacta, a $13,969 trifecta, and a $40,598 superfecta.

It was a homecoming of sorts for the New York-bred Whitmore's Conn, who was born at McMahon Thoroughbreds of Saratoga - the same birthplace as Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Funny Cide - located five miles from the track.

Samyn rode Whitmore's Conn for the first time in the Grade 2 Bowling Green, a race he won by rallying from last. So Samyn did not panic when he saw Jerry Bailey guide Denon to the lead at the three-furlong marker.

"I said, 'I'm not going to try and make a move six or seven wide here,' " Samyn said. "If I wait, at least he'll finish."

So Samyn waited and even though he had to go wide, Whitmore's Conn had plenty left with which to finish. Whitmore's Conn, a son of Kris S. owned by Michael and Lynn Shanley, covered the 1 1/2 miles in 2:28.14 over a good inner turf.

"I was picking my place where to go and I had three-sixteenths of a mile to make up the ground," Samyn said. "If he was going to try hard, it'll be interesting - and it was."

Whitmore's Conn will probably make his next start in the $750,000 Turf Classic Invitational at Belmont on Sept. 27.