More Than Real, who handed Winter Memories the only defeat of her career in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (gr. IIT), square off again in the $150,000 Lake George Stakes (gr. IIT) July 27 at Saratoga Race Course.
Sent off at 13-1 in the Breeders’ Cup, More Than Real swept to the front and drew clear by two lengths as favored Winter Memories held second by a head. Both fillies were idle over the winter, but Winter Memories holds a clear advantage in 2011.
Winter Memories has posted back-to-back stakes victories in Keeneland's Appalachian Stakes (gr. IIIT) and the Sands Point Stakes (gr. IIT) at Belmont Park on Memorial Day. More Than Real is winless after a single start in England this season. The rematch is race 8 on the Saratoga program at 4:55 p.m. EDT.
“She’s done everything she’s supposed to do,” trainer James Toner said of Winter Memories, a daughter of El Prado owned by her breeders, Phillips Racing Partnership. “She’s filled out, she’s matured, and developed, and we couldn’t be happier with the way she is doing. So far, so good. We’re ready to go and anxious to get started.”
Winter Memories, the even-money favorite on the morning line, will leave from post 4 with jockey Jose Lezcano. Toner will also send out Sunlight Sonata, who will be ridden by Rajiv Maragh from post 2.
Bobby Flay's More Than Real looks to regroup for trainer Todd Pletcher after a disappointing 11th-place effort in the Coronation Stakes (Eng-I) at Royal Ascot June 17. The More Than Ready miss has turned in three works since returning from England, including a four-furlong breeze (:49.11) over the Oklahoma turf course July 22.
“She came out of her work in good shape and seemed to handle the Ascot trip well,” said Pletcher. “We’re trying to get back on course after a failed trip to England, so we’ll hope that she’s back to her Breeders’ Cup form. She’s training very well and we’re ready to run.”
Second choice on the morning line at 2-1, More Than Real will leave from post 6 with John Velazquez aboard for the first time.
Pletcher will also saddle Paul Pompa’s Bellamy Star, a daughter of Bellamy Road who exits a win in the Xtra Heat overnight stakes at Belmont June 5 for previous trainer Carl Domino.
“She’s been very straightforward,” said Pletcher. “She’s trained really well and it would be my guess that she’ll be pretty forwardly placed against this group.”
Bellamy Star, 5-1 on the morning line, gets the services of Ramon Dominguez from post 5.
Also in the field is Iowa Oaks (gr. III) winner Little Miss Holly, who will try turf for the first time for trainer Steve Margolis.
$150,000 Lake George Stakes (gr. IIT, Race 8, 4:55 p.m.), 3 Year-Old Fillies (Inner Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Little Miss Holly (KY), C J Lanerie, 116, S Margolis
2. Sunlight Sonata (KY), R Maragh, 116, J J Toner
3. Calmafterthestorm (KY), A Garcia, 116, K P McLaughlin
4. Winter Memories (KY), J Lezcano, 122, J J Toner
5. Bellamy Star (FL), R A Dominguez, 120, T A Pletcher
6. More Than Real (KY), J R Velazquez, 120, T A Pletcher
Main Track Only
7. Marion Ravenwood (KY), J R Velazquez, 120, H G Motion