Christophe Clement's Rutherienne, winner in her last three starts while displaying a flair for the dramatic, heads a tough field of 11 fillies in Friday's $100,000-added Lake George (gr. IIIT) for 3-year-old fillies on the Mellon Turf Course.
Rutherienne has been involved in tight finishes all year including last time out in the Boiling Springs (gr. IIIT) at Monmouth Park on June 30 when she crossed the wire second by a neck but was placed first after Red Birkin was disqualified and placed third. Rutherienne will face Red Birkin again in the 1 1/16-mile Lake George.
In her previous start, Rutherienne, a daughter of Pulpit, finished in a dead heat for first with Bit of Whimsey in the Sands Point (gr. IIIT) at Belmont on June 2.
“Unfortunately, when they come from out of it which is the case with her, this is what happens,” said Clement of her recent close finishes. “You need to be lucky. You need to have a good trip, a good horse and a minimum of pace in a race.”
Rutherienne, who will break from post 10 , has won five of her six career starts, her only loss coming at Keeneland on April 22 where she finished fourth, a 1 1/2 lengths behind winner Audacious Chloe in the Appalachian Stakes.
Rutherienne’s rematch with Red Birkin will be an interesting subplot to this race.
“Red Birkin won that race and she just got taken down,” said Red Birkin’s trainer Roger Attfield of the Boiling Springs. “It was kind of a riding error but those things happen. To win, she just has to run the same race and go straight.”
Red Birkin, breaking from post 2, shipped into Saratoga on Wednesday. Attfield chose the Lake George as opposed to running in the Virginia Oaks.
“She doesn’t have a lot of experience with shipping, but she handled it fine at Monmouth and that was a very hot day actually,” Attfield said. “That’s why I didn’t go to the Virginia. I wanted to give her one more week after shipping in the hot weather but she handled it perfect.”
Rutherienne is undefeated in four starts at the Lake George distance and Red Birkin has two wins in three starts at the distance with her only loss being the third place after being disqualified in the Boiling Springs . Rutherienne, carrying 122 pounds, will spot Red Birkin six pounds.
Another key figure in the race will be Patrick Biancone’s Good Mood, co-heavyweight with Rutherienne.
Good Mood, the only other horse in the field besides Rutherienne with a graded stakes victory, is coming off a win in the Regret (gr. IIIT) at Belmont Park on June 16. She has seen steady improvement throughout her 2007 campaign.
Prior to the Irish bred’s victory in the Regret, she took a third in the Edgewood Stakes at Churchill Downs on May 4 and placed eighth in the Appalachian Stakes at Keeneland on April 22.
“Most of the horses coming in from Europe really take some time to really adjust to the system,” Biancone said. “She ran well each time. She never ran bad, but she has improved much race to race.”
The daughter of Danehill Dancer will break from the rail and Prado will once take the mount.
$100,000 Lake George Stakes (gr. IIIT, Race 8, 6:30 p.m.), 3-Year-Old Fillies, 1 1/16 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, ML Odds
1. Good Mood (IRE), Edgar S. Prado, 122, 9/2
2. Red Birkin (FL), Javier Castellano, 116, 6/1
3. Dashes N Dots (KY), Robby Albarado, 116, 15/1
4. Bees (KY), Ramon A. Dominguez, 116, 15/1
5. Miss Tizzynow (FL), Jeremy Rose, 120, 20/1
6. Lady Attack (KY), Calvin H. Borel, 116, 12/1
7. Sharp Susan (KY), Kent J. Desormeaux, 122, 5/1
8. Classic Neel (KY), Elvis Trujillo, 116, 6/1
9. Awesome Ashley (KY), John R. Velazquez, 116, 10/1
10. Rutherienne (KY), Garrett K. Gomez, 122, 3/1
11. Silky Smooth (KY), Patrick Husbands, 120, 30/1
Sharp Susan races without blinkers.