The $500,000 Sword Dancer Invitational Stakes (G1), at 1 1/2 miles on the inner turf course, is the highlight turf race of the Saratoga meeting and is a major prep for horses targetting the Breeders' Cup Turf. Expansion, winless since the Red Smith Handicap (G3) last November, was sent off as the 9-5 choice in the field of 9 off two consecutive third place finishes in the Manhattan (G1) and Man o'War (G1). Bearpath, fourth in the Man o'War, was the 4-1 second choice over Sunset Handicap (G3) winner Marlang at 9-2.
Marlang was sent to the front first time down the backstretch under new jockey John Velazquez, and he set easy fractions of 24.28, 48.27, 1:13.23, and 1:36.62 while saving ground on the hedge around all three turns. Interpatation and Al Khali stalked him second and third, with Expansion close behind them fourth. Turning for home, Marlang tired badly and faded to finish last, allowing Al Khali to inherit the lead at the top of the lane through 1 1/4 miles in 2:00.76. Last year's winner and 10-1 shot Telling, fifth early, came through on the inside, outfinishing Bearpath in the final furlong to win by 1 1/2 lengths in 2:25.29 over firm turf. It was another 1 1/4 length back to Al Khali third, while favorite Expansion finished 5th.