Owner Martin S. Schwartz’s eye for a good horse has led him to Samitar, who bears watching in the $200,000 Lake George Stakes (gr. IIT) at 1 1/16 miles for 3-year-old fillies on turf at Saratoga Race Course July 25.
Since buying English-bred Samitar this year, Schwartz has campaigned the daughter of Rock of Gibraltar four times in Europe under the care of trainer Mick Channon. His investment paid big dividends when Samitar won the Etihad Airways Irish One Thousand Guineas (Ire-I).
“I’m very excited,” Schwartz said. “We tried to buy her last fall, and they turned down our offer. I bought her in April. They had such horrendous weather in England--it’s been raining for six months there --and she prefers firmer ground.”
Channon, who won his first classic with Samitar, has sent his son, Jack, to saddle the filly. After the race she will be transferred to Chad Brown, who handles Schwartz’s U.S.-based runners.
In the Lake George, Samitar will confront a field of eight, with one main track only entry. Her opponents include 2011 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Filly Turf (gr. IIT) winner Stephanie's Kitten, who has been freshened since a two-length score in the Edgewood Stakes May 4 at Churchill Downs.
The 5-2 morning line favorite, Stephanie’s Kitten, by Kitten's Joy , was bred by owners Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey, and a placing in the Lake George would make the filly a millionaire after just eight career starts.
Trainer Wayne Catalano, who is stabled at Saratoga for the first time this summer, said Stephanie’s Kitten is ready to go. She will be ridden by John Velazquez, who returns Wednesday from a broken collarbone suffered in a spill at Churchill Downs June 16.
“The Lake George was our plan,” said Catalano. “We were going to go to Ascot (in England) and the plans changed and we ended up pointing to this. It’s her main goal, and she’s doing very well this year.”
Darley Stable will send out Better Lucky, a Ghostzapper filly who won a 6 1/2-furlong sprint by 5 1/4 lengths May 2 at Belmont Park | BloodHorse.com Track Profile">Belmont Park and then won the Sands Point Stakes (gr. IIT) by a nose in her turf debut at Belmont
“I thought she ran a big in the allowance race, and I thought the Sands Point was coming up light and she fit well with that group,” said trainer Tom Albertrani of Better Lucky. “I thought turf wouldn’t hurt any.”
Albertrani said he is comfortable tackling the tough competition set for the Lake George.
He also has entered recent allowance winner Elusive Rumour.
Trainer George “Rusty” Arnold will run the rising Centre Court, who stalked two long shots before powering past to win the Regret Stakes (gr. IIIT) last month at Churchill Downs. A daughter of Smart Strike, Centre Court has shown the ability to come from far behind or stalk the pace.
“Her mother was a really good filly, although she wasn’t a grass horse,” Arnold said. “She won a grade II at Churchill, and we’ve been really high on her as a broodmare. This filly (Centre Court) looked good since day 1.”
Trainer Todd Pletcher sends out Medolina (by Aragorn), unbeaten in three starts including the Tweedside Stakes June 24 on the Belmont Park turf. Medolina will be joined by stablemate Dancing Solo, (by Giant's Causeway) , winner of two straight stakes at Monmouth Park this year, most recently the Boiling Springs (gr. IIIT) at the Lake George distance.
$200,000 Lake George Stakes (gr. IIT, Race 9, 5:30 p.m.), 3YO Fillies, 1 1/16 Miles (Turf)
Post, Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer, Odds
1. Elusive Rumour, J Alvarado, 116, T Albertrani, 20-1
2. Stephanie’s Kitten, J R Velazquez, 120, W M Catalano, 5-2
3. Centre Court, J R Leparoux, 122, G R Arnold II, 4-1
4. Better Lucky, E Castro, 122, T Albertrani, 8-1
5. Dancing Solo, J Bravo, 122, T A Pletcher, 10-1
6. Samitar, R A Dominguez, 122, M R Channon, 3-1
7. Somali Lemonade, J Rosario, 120, M R Matz, 12-1
8. Medolina, J Castellano, 120, T A Pletcher, 5-1
9. * Harbor Mist, no rider, 118, P M Serpe, 4-1
* Main track only