April 12, 2021

Glorious Empire leads all the way in Sword Dancer, earns berth in BC Turf

Glorious Empire ran his way into the Breeders' Cup in the $1 million Sword Dancer (G1) (Kathleen O'Leary/Horsephotos.com)

Glorious Empire and Channel Maker were inseparable at the finish of last month’s Bowling Green (G2), but in Saturday’s $1,002,000 Sword Dancer (G1) at Saratoga, Glorious Empire made all with Channel Maker second throughout the 1 1/2-mile inner turf test.

Setting a generally unpressured pace under Julien Leparoux, Glorious Empire was briefly challenged by Channel Maker around the third turn, but kicked clear of that rival through the stretch to win by 1 3/4 lengths. The fractions were :23.16, :48.18, 1:13.88, 1:38.82, and 2:01.86. The final time on firm ground was 2:24.41.

“He traveled very good for me, and he’s got that kick, you know, and at the end he just exploded,” Leparoux said. “It was a rough race, like the last time. He obviously loves the track. We won two here this year and one last year. The first quarter was fast, but today he settled very nicely and picked the pace up pretty quickly.”

The Sword Dancer is a “Win & You’re In” Breeders’ Cup Challenge race, with Glorious Empire earning a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) at Churchill Downs in November.

Owned by Matthew Schera and trained by Chuck Lawrence, Glorious Empire returned $33.40. Channel Maker was two lengthsy ahead of Manhattan (G1) winner Spring Quality for second. Completing the order of finish were Hi Happy, Highland Sky, 2-1 favorite and 2017 Sword Dancer winner Sadler’s Joy, Funtastic, Bigger Picture, Seahenge, and Revved Up.

Sixth in the $100,000 Henry Clark at Laurel in his season debut April 21, Glorious Empire beat optional claiming foes at Delaware Park prior to his sweep of the Bowling Green and Sword Dancer. His record now stands at 23-9-0-3, $852,417.

Bred in Ireland by Patrick Grogan, Glorious Empire is by Holy Roman Emperor and out of Humble and Proud, by Pivotal.