I Lost My Choo won the Virginia Oaks (gr. IIIT) at Colonial Downs.

I Lost My Choo won the Virginia Oaks (gr. IIIT) at Colonial Downs.

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I Lost My Choo Faces Stiff Challenge

Fresh off her impressive victory in last month’s Virginia Oaks (gr. IIIT) at Colonial Downs, Flying Zee Stable’s homebred I Lost My Choo will try to take the next step in her budding career, as she takes on seven rivals in the $150,000 Lake Placid Stakes (gr. IIT) Aug. 15 on the Saratoga turf.

However, despite consecutive stakes wins and five trips to the winner’s circle this year, I Lost My Choo will meet her stiffest challenge yet in the 1 1/8-mile test for 3-year-old fillies. It should come from Darley Stable’s Raw Silk, who soundly defeated I Lost My Choo in the Sands Point (gr. IIT) at Belmont Park in May.

Rosa Grace, a stakes winner in England, will be making her first start on American soil, and Namaste’s Wish, who made a strong late move in the Virginia Oaks to finish runner-up, could also challenge.

I Lost My Choo was terrific in winning the nine-furlong Virginia Oaks July 19 at Colonial Downs, coming from 12 lengths back at the top of the stretch to win going away under Edgar Prado. The eye-catching stretch move earned her the first graded stakes score of her career. Prior to that, I Lost My Choo won the Elmont Stakes by a head June 18 on the Belmont grass.

A daughter of Western Expression--Fairy Queen, by Tom Rolfe and trained by Philip Serpe, I Lost My Choo has not been off the board in seven efforts this year. Other than the Sands Point, her only other loss was by a head in the Appalachian Stakes (gr. IIIT) April 16 at Keeneland. She was entered in last week's Statue of Liberty Division of the New York Stallion Series where she would have been a prohibitive favorite, but was scratched when the race came off the turf. 

“We had no other option (but to scratch her), actually,” Serpe said. “We were not in any way going to run her on the main track. She’s just a good horse. It’s as plain as it is on paper.”

Prado gets the return call on the New York-bred, who along with Raw Silk will carry top weight of 120 pounds.

The contrasting styles of deep-closing I Lost My Choo and front-running Raw Silk should make for an interesting race. A daughter of Malibu Moon , Raw Silk has gone gate-to-wire in all three of her career victories. The Tom Albertrani trainee was never challenged on the lead in the Sands Point and led I Lost My Choo by three lengths by the time she hit the eighth-pole. Backseat Rhythm and Encanto Park, both capable of flashing early speed, could add pace in the Lake Placid.

“She got off to a nice easy lead and that may have helped her,” Albertani said of the Sands Point, which came on the 'good' turf. “I think she relished the turf that day, too. She was able to control the pace and save something for the end.”

Raw Silk is coming off a disappointing eighth-place finish in the July 5 American Oaks Invitational (gr. IT) at Hollywood Park, where she led approaching the stretch, but weakened badly in that 10-furlong contest. She should enjoy the cutback in distance Aug. 15. Alan Garcia will be back in the irons.

“I don’t know that she really sat the trip too well,” Albertani added. “She looked a little light when she arrived (in California) that week. I’m also not sure she really liked going a mile and a quarter.

“She’s been training well. She worked well the other day - went 1:01 for five furlongs - and looks to be coming into the Lake Placid in good shape.”  

E.P. Duggan’s Rosa Grace also enters off a poor effort, that coming July 13 in the Darley Irish Oaks (Ire-I) at Curragh when she finished more than 20 lengths off the pace going 12 furlongs on the yielding turf. Prior to that however, the English-bred Lomitas filly captured the June 12 Ballymacoll Stud Lord Weinstock Memorial Stakes at Newbury.

Live Oak Plantation’s Namaste’s Wish is 0-for-3 in graded stakes company, but turned in her most inspired effort in the Virginia Oaks. Like I Lost My Choo, the daughter of Pulpitwas way in back of front-running Julia Tuttle in that race, but rallied willingly under Kent Desormeaux. The Bill Mott trainee also faced I Lost My Choo in the Appalachian, finishing a well-beaten fifth at Keeneland.

$150,000 Lake Placid Stakes (gr. IIT, Race 8, 4:56 p.m.), Three-Year-Old Fillies, 1 1/8 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Encanto Park (FL), 116, Jorge F. Chavez
2. Rosa Grace (GB), 118, Julien R. Leparoux
3. I Lost My Choo (NY), 120, Edgar S. Prado
4. Namaste's Wish (KY), 118, Kent J. Desormeaux
5. Much Obliged (KY), 118, Shaun Bridgmohan
6. Backseat Rhythm (KY), 116, Javier Castellano
7. Zaskar (GB), 116, John R. Velazquez
8. Raw Silk (KY), 120, Alan Garcia