Irish One Thousand Guineas (Ire-I) heroine Samitar and Ashland Stakes (gr. I) winner Karlovy Vary head a field of seven 3-year-old fillies entered for the $300,000 Garden City (gr. IT) at Belmont Park Sept. 15, both looking to rebound off third-place finishes in their most recent outings.
The Garden City, race nine on a 10-race card, is scheduled with an approximate post of 5:06 p.m. EDT.
Purchased in April by Martin Schwartz, Samitar was 12-1 when she upset the One Thousand Guineas for owners Nick and Olga Dhandsa and John and Zoe Webster. After that, she was a one-paced fourth in the Coronation Stakes (Eng-I) at Ascot for trainer Michael Channon. She arrived in the United States this summer and finished third, beaten a neck, in the July 25 Lake George (gr. IIT) at Saratoga Race Course.
Following that race—her first beyond a mile and her first over firm turf —she was transferred to trainer Chad Brown.
"I thought she fought well," Brown said of the Rock of Gibraltar filly who has had five published works since the Lake George. She most recently posted a half-mile breeze in :50.99 Sept. 10 around the dogs over a "good" Belmont Park inner turf. "Now we've had her in our care, and we're getting to know her a little bit. She seems to be training well."
Ramon Dominguez will ride Samitar, the 8-5 morning line favorite and 122-pound highweight, from post 3.
Karlovy Vary, the 5-2 second choice on the morning line, had won three of her four starts prior to finishing third in the Nani Rose at Saratoga. Her only loss in that span for trainer Rusty Arnold and owner Alex Campbell Jr. came on conventional dirt in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), in which she finished 12th.
Off for six weeks after the Oaks, the Dynaformer filly returned to the grass and beat older fillies and mares in an optional claimer at the Garden City distance on June 23 at Churchill Downs, and then ran evenly at 3-5 to finish 1 1/2 lengths behind Alaura Michele and Sweet and Lovely in the one-mile Nani Rose over the Spa's inner turf course.
Somali Lemonade, a traffic-troubled sixth in the Lake George, returned to finish third, beaten 1 1/4 lengths, behind Stephanie's Kitten and Centre Court in the Aug. 18 Woodford Reserve Lake Placid (gr. IIT) at Saratoga. Trained by Michael Matz for Caroline Forgason, the Lemon Drop Kid filly is 6-1 on the morning line as she seeks her first victory since taking last October's JP Morgan Chase Jessamine Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Keeneland.
Trainer Todd Pletcher and Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey will each be represented in the Garden City, respectively, by graded stakes debuters Ciao Bella and Trophy Wife.
Ciao Bella, a gray daughter of Giant's Causeway owned by Michael Tabor, has run three times, all on dirt. A 7 1/4-length maiden winner last December at Gulfstream Park, she returned to beat older fillies and mares at Monmouth Park July 29 and next was an even fourth after a wide trip Aug. 17 in Saratoga's Summer Guest overnight stakes.
She has since worked twice on the grass at Saratoga, covering four furlongs in :47.55 Aug. 31 and the same distance in a bullet :47.28 Sept. 7.
"She's a promising filly, and we like the way she has breezed on turf," Pletcher said.
McGaughey will saddle Phipps Stable's Trophy Wife, recent winner of an optional claimer on the turf at Saratoga. The Giant's Causeway filly, 2-0-2 from six starts, makes her third straight appearance on the turf. She won an Aug. 5 optional claimer at Saratoga after finishing fourth, beaten 2 3/4 lengths, at Belmont July 15.
Rounding out the field are Tannery, the group III Kilboy Estate Stakes winner who is making her American debut for owner Richard Santulli and trainer Alan Goldberg, and Open Water, third in the Del Mar Oaks (gr. I) last time out.
$300,000 Garden City Stakes (gr. I, Race 9, 5:06 p.m.), 3YO Fillies, 1 1/8 Miles (Inner Turf)
PP, Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer, Odds
1. Tannery (IRE), J. Lezcano, 118, A E Goldberg, 5-1
2. Open Water (KY), C.S. Nakatani, 116, E J Guillot, 12-1
3. Samitar (GB), R.A. Dominguez, 122, C C Brown, 8-5
4. Somali Lemonade (KY), J. Rosario, 118, M R Matz, 6-1
5. Ciao Bella (KY), J.R. Velazquez, 116, T A Pletcher, 10-1
6. Karlovy Vary (KY), J.R. Lepraoux, 116, G R Arnold, II, 5-2
7. Trophy Wife (KY), E. Castro, 116, C R McGaughey III, 8-1