Jockey Julien Leparoux allowed Glorious Empire to run fast early, then managed to save for a late run to win Saturday’s Grade 1, $1 million Sword Dancer Stakes in wire-to-wire fashion.

Off at 15-1, the last-out dead heat winner of Saratoga’s Grade 2 Bowling Green again battled with Channel Maker, the horse he hit the wire even with back on July 28. But this time, the challenger couldn’t keep up as they upped the distance from 1 3/8 miles to 1 1/2.

Glorious Empire finished in 2:24.41.

The win had to be especially sweet for Leparoux, who rode Sadler’s Joy to a win in the 2017 Sword Dancer but has since lost the mount. Sadler’s Joy didn’t hit the board in this year’s renewal, not after Glorious Empire skipped away from the field.

The 7-year-old by Holy Roman Emperor — a former claimer — dashed from the gate, opening with a 23.16-seconds quarter mile. Setting an easier pace the rest of the way, the mile went in 1:38.82, still swift, but not at the rate where the pace collapsed.

Another stakes win earned James Lawrence-trained Glorious Empire an expenses-paid trip to the Breeders’ Cup Turf.


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