Grade 1 winner Annals of Time appears to have returned to form following a lengthy layoff, recording a sharp 4 1/2-length allowance score on July 24, and will be the horse to beat in Saturday’s $850,000 Sword Dancer (G1) at Saratoga. One of three entrants from leading trainer Chad Brown, the six-year-old horse tops nine runners in the 1 1/2-mile turf affair.
Annals of Time captured the 2016 Hollywood Derby (G1) in his fourth career outing but made only one more start, an allowance triumph at Belmont Park nine months later, before heading to the sidelines for 21 months. The son of Temple City returned in early June with a fast-closing second in a Belmont Park allowance and made his aforementioned second start back last time at Saratoga. Regular rider Javier Castellano has the call.
Brown will also send postward multiple Group 1 Chilean winner Ya Primo, who exits a rallying second in the July 27 Bowling Green (G2) in his U.S. debut; and allowance scorer Proven Resources, who appears entered to guarantee a solid pace since he shares ownership with Annals of Time.
Channel Cat, a wire-to-wire winner of the Sword Dancer, is also back for Todd Pletcher. Luis Saez rides. Channel Maker, who won the 2018 Bowling Green and finished second in the Sword Dancer, will try to make amends after winding up a close fourth as the favorite in the Bowling Green. Joel Rosario will be up for Bill Mott. Sadler’s Joy, who notched his biggest win in the 2017 Bowling Green, will make his second start back after concluding last year with a third in the Breeders’ Cup Turf. Jose Lezcano picks up the mount for Tom Albertrani.
Two races earlier, the $400,000 Ballston Spa (G2) for turf distaffers will be offered and Brown holds a strong hand with three entrants in the 1 1/16-mile event. French import Mascha, a good-looking allowance winner in her stateside debut at Saratoga, will be the most fancied with Irad Ortiz Jr. Multiple state-bred stakes vixen Fifty Five, a good second when facing open foes most recently in the Dr. James Jenny Memorial (G3), and Intercontinental (G3) heroine Significant Form complete the contingent.
Starship Jubilee, second in the Nassau (G2) and Dance Smartly (G2) in her last two appearances, ships in from Canada for Kevin Attard and Lezcano takes over the reins. Nassau winner Secret Message, fourth in a salty Diana (G1) earlier in the meet, is also part of the nine-horse field.