Trainer Christophe Clement, a three-time winner of the Lake George Stakes (gr. IIT), sends out 7-2 morning line favorite Strike It Rich for the 16th renewal of the $150,000 grass event at Saratoga July 28.
The 1 1/16-mile inner turf track test attracted a dozen 3-year-old fillies as well as three more on the also-eligible list.
Waterville Lake Stables' Strike It Rich, a daughter of Unbridled's Song , streaks into the race with three consecutive victories dating back to an April 23 turf allowance at Gulfstream Park. She has won back-to-back stakes races at Monmouth Park, including a 1 1/4-length score in the Boiling Springs (gr. IIIT) June 26, in which she led the field from gate to wire. Garrett Gomez, aboard for both of the filly's stakes victories, retains the mount.
“She’s doing very well,” said Clement, who has won the Lake George more often than any other trainer. “She’s an anxious filly, but she’s grown more manageable and her form is getting better as she gets more mature. She rated nicely for Garrett the last time, but we’ll need firm turf and a bit of racing luck.”
Strike It Rich breaks from post 8 in the evenly-matched field.
Robert Smithen’s Bay to Bay, runner-up in the Boiling Springs, attempts to turn the tables in the Lake George for trainer Brian Lynch. An exceptionally consistent performer with a record of 3-3-1 from seven lifetime starts, Bay to Bay was installed as the 4-1 second choice on the morning line and will get the services of Robby Albarado from post 12.
Making her second start for Godolphin Stable and trainer Saeed bin Suroor is House of Grace, a Limehouse filly who was undefeated in two starts going into last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, in which she finished third for then-trainer Ken McPeek.
The filly also ran third in her first start for Godolphin, a one-mile turf allowance at Belmont Park on July 1.
“It was a three-horse field in that race and the way it set up didn’t help her,” said Rick Mettee, assistant to bin Suroor. “It was clear she needed the race, but she’s come back and worked well twice since and from a fitness standpoint, she should be a lot tighter.”
Ramon Dominguez, New York’s leading jockey, will ride House of Grace from the inside.
Trainer Todd Pletcher, who has saddled two previous Lake George winners, saddles Starlight Partners’ Caminadora, tabbed at 12-1 on the morning line. Dismissed at 32-1 in her most recent start, the Regret Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Churchill Downs June 12, the More Than Ready filly made a wide run from last to to prevail by a half-length at the wire.
“We think she’s best suited to settle and make one run,” Pletcher said. “In the Regret, once she got going she had to give up a little ground, but she was moving forward.”
Javier Castellano will ride Caminadora for the first time in the Lake George from post 11.
German-bred Neon Light, a group III winner in her country of birth, will make her first start in the United States. Trained by Andreas Wohler in Germany, the filly is stabled with Graham Motion at Saratoga and will remain with him following the Lake George.
Installed as the 9-2 third choice on the morning line, Neon Light will break from post 4 with Hall of Fame jockey Edgar Prado.
$150,000 Lake George Stakes (gr. IIT, Race 8, 4:56 p.m.), 3-Year-Old Fillies, 1 1/16 Miles (Inner Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer, ML Odds
1. House of Grace (KY), R A Dominguez, 116, S bin Suroor, 8/1
2. Crescenda (FL), C H Velasquez, 116, M K McDonald, 6/1
3. Khancord Kid (NY), R Maragh, 122, J C Kimmel, 20/1
4. Neon Light (GER), E S Prado, 120, A Wohler, 9/2
5. Perfect Shirl (KY), J R Velazquez, 116, R L Attfield, 15/1
6. No Explaining (IRE), J Lezcano, 118, R L Attfield, 12/1
7. Go Ask Alex (KY), J K Court, 120, J Glenney, 30/1
8. Strike It Rich (KY), G K Gomez, 122, C Clement, 7/2
9. Dynazaper (KY), J R Leparoux, 120, W I Mott, 12/1
10. Exclusive Love (KY), S Bridgmohan, 116, M E Casse, 30/1
11. Caminadora (KY), J Castellano, 122, T A Pletcher, 12/1
12. Bay to Bay (FL), R Albarado, 120, B A Lynch, 4/1
13. Ambitoness (KY), C Hill, 116, W J Cesare, 50/1
14. Kittylicious (KY), E Coa, 116, G Sciacca, 50/1
15. Queen Hazel (KY), A Garcia, 116, R Ribaudo, 20/1