Already the most accomplished horse entered in the $150,000 Gallorette Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Pimlico Race Course May 18, Irish classic winner Samitar appears to be entering top form after flashing a strong late kick in her previous effort.
Martin Schwartz's Samitar finished willingly, three-wide, to make up nearly four lengths late to finish third in the Jenny Wiley Stakes (gr. IT) April 13 at Keeneland Race Course. The 4-year-old Rock of Gibraltar filly enters Saturday's 1 1/16-mile turf race off a pair of graded stakes placings in her two efforts this year as Samitar opened 2013 with a runner-up finish in the Honey Fox Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park.
Trainer Chad Brown will be glad not to see Centre Court in Saturday's field as she won both the Jenny Wiley and the Honey Fox this season. Last year in the U.S., Samitar defeated other top 3-year-old fillies with a narrow victory in the Garden City Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park.
Bred in England by Norman Court Stud, Samitar began her racing career there, placing in all six of her juvenile starts and registering two victories, including a score in the Albany Stakes (Eng-III) at the Royal Ascot meet. Schwartz purchased Samitar before her 3-year-old season and she won the Ethiad Airways Irish One Thousand Guineas (Ire-I) for her new owner before being shipped to the U.S.
Samitar is not the only female entering the Gallorette in top form as Appealing Cat turned heads April 12 at Keeneland with a 2 1/2-length victory in a third-level allowance race. Edgar Prado rode the daughter of Successful Appeal for the first time that day and will return to ride in the Gallorette. Augustin Stable's Successful Appeal will try to secure her first stakes win in the Gallorette.
Trainer Todd Pletcher will give this year's Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winning jockey Joel Rosario a leg up on Stud TNT's Old Tune, who won a pair of grade III stakes on the Tampa Bay Downs turf this year but finished off the board in the Jenny Wiley. Old Tune defeated Appealing Cat in the Endeavour Stakes (gr. IIIT) Feb. 2 at Tampa.
Samitar and Old Tune are the co-highweights at 122 pounds in the field of ten fillies and mares.
$150,000 Gallorette Handicap (gr. IIIT, race 9, approximate post time 4 p.m.) F&M, 3YO&Up, 1 1/16 miles, turf
PP, Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer, Odds
1. Hard Not to Like (ON), J. Velazquez, 118, M. Matz, 10-1
2. Daydreamin Gracie (MD), G. Cruise, 114, D. Kobiskie, 20-1
3. Pianist (KY), M. Smith, 115, C. Brown, 4-1
4. Samitar (GB), J. Castellano, 122, C. Brown, 5-2
5. Old Tune (BRZ), J. Rosario, 122, T. Pletcher, 4-1
6. Embarr (VA), F. Boyce, 116, S. Cooney, 8-1
7. Charged Cotton (MD), A. Garcia, 113, I. Correas IV, 12-1
8. Idle Talk (KY), H. Karamanos, 112, M. Eppler, 20-1
9. Silver Screamer (KY), unknown, 117, R. Rodriguez, 8-1
10. Appealing Cat (PA), E. Prado, 114, H. Motion, 10-1