It's Tea Time Slurps Up Sloppy Lake Placid
Under showery conditions, the $135,000 Lake Placid field was reduced from six to three with the switch to the sloppy, sealed main track. Originally a grade II race for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/8 miles on grass, it was automatically downgraded with the change in surface pending a final review by the American Graded Stakes Committee. Steady rain began overnight and continued into the afternoon in upstate New York.
George Arnold II trains the winner, a bay filly by Dynaformer--Prof. McGonagall, by Storm Cat.
The small field didn't take the luster off the Lake Placid for Arnold. "You’re always happy to win a race here, any race,” he said.
With Julien Leparoux aboard, It's Tea Time was content to drop back and trail her two rivals by a few lengths after pacesetter Hatheer, ridden by Alan Garcia, carried the others wide into the clubhouse turn. Hatheer led Triple Cream, with Rajiv Maragh aboard, easily through quarter-mile fractions of :24.37, :48.99, and 1:14.62 before she began to ease away on the final turn.
It's Tea Time, never far back, angled to the outside for the drive and took command approaching mid-stretch, splashing home in a final time of 1:54.52.
“I didn’t really have a preference where to have her in the race," Leparoux said. "She was most comfortable behind horses, so we just settled in the back. She ran very well and was very relaxed.
"I didn’t have any worries about the off track because I had breezed her on the dirt before and she traveled over it well. The trainer told me that this surface today would not be a problem.”
The victory was the third in seven lifetime starts for It's Tea Time, who also has a pair of seconds. She was coming off a half-length victory over older fillies and mares as the favorite in a first-level allowance victory on the Saratoga inner turf course Aug. 1.
Her best prior effort in a stakes came in Keeneland's Ashland Stakes (gr. I) on Polytrack in April when she ran second by a neck to Evening Jewel.
It's Tea Time raced on dirt just once previously, finishing ninth in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) following her Ashland effort. “She ran pretty well," Arnold said of the Oaks. "She had the one hole in a 14-horse field, which didn’t work out for her."
The winning share of $90,000 boosted It's Tea Time's career earnings to $242,397.
The wet conditions and the relocation of three other races slated for the turf resulted in a total of 29 scratches from the 10-race program.
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