Day Rides Lake George Favorite Lucifer's Stone

(from Saratoga report)
Jockey Pat Day will replace the injured Jose Santos aboard Lucifer's Stone, a leading contender in Monday's $100,000 Lake George Stakes (gr. IIIT) for 3-year-old fillies at Saratoga Race Course.

Eleven fillies were entered for the Lake George, which will go at 1 1/16 mile over the Mellon Turf Ccourse.

Trained by Linda Rice, who won a division of the Lake George in 1998 with Tenski, Lucifer's Stone is 4-2-1 from eight starts, often overcoming adversity. She is seeking her third stakes victory this year after winning Gulfstream Park's Hercomesthebride and Keeneland's Applachian.

Santos, aboard Lucifer's Stone in her last four starts, suffered a broken right arm in a paddock accident last Friday at Belmont Park and is expected to miss at least the first half of the Saratoga meet.

Lucifer's Stone has been prone to wide trips, mid-race trouble, poor starts and was even hit by a rival jockey's whip in the final yards of the Applachian. She is making her first start since the June 13 Sands Point, a race she was beaten a neck by Mambo Slew.

Rice had hoped to start Lucifer's Stone in the July 3 American Oaks at Hollywood Park, but was forced to skip the Oaks after Lucifer's Stone reared up and fell during training hours at Belmont one morning. Lucifer's Stone was returning to her barn after schooling in the paddock when she was spooked by a car and fell over. Rice said stitches were required to mend some of the filly's wounds.

"It was more than superficial," she said. "We were awfully disappointed that we had to miss the Oaks. It was a grade I and worth a lot of money. On the other hand, there are a lot of races left, she's fresh and you're always concerned when you're shipping out to the West Coast; it can take a lot out of your horse.

"She's had some interesting trips, but she doesn't get discouraged easily. That makes her easy to admire. She was very green as a 2-year-old, but she has gained a lot of seasoning in her races this year."

Lucifer's Stone, a daughter of Horse Chestnut, has a win and a second in two starts at 1 1/16 mile. She finished second in her lone start at Saratoga last August.

La Reina displayed plenty of promise as a juvenile last season, going 2-2-0 from four starts. She won the Tempted (gr. III) at Aqueduct and missed winning the Demoiselle (gr. II) by a nose to Ashado, who has developed into the nation's leading 3-year-old filly.

Yet up until her last race, a hard-fought allowance victory over the Belmont turf, La Reina's 3-year-old season had been a bit frustrating for trainer Shug McGaughey. La Reina had lost her first three starts in 2004. Hoping to get her back on track and in the winners' circle, McGaughey put La Reina on the grass.

"The season had been a big disappointment because she had trained good and wasn't running," McGaughey said. "I had been looking forward to running her on (turf) and that race came up. I thought she ran really well."

La Reina, who is a half-sister to grade I turf winner Brahms, may encounter a rain-softened turf course in the Lake George with thunderstorms in the forecast. McGaughey said he'd prefer a firm course for his filly.

Jockey John Velazquez, who notched his 3,000th career victory here on Thursday, pilots La Reina. Velazquez is gunning for his third Lake George victory.

Delta Sensation enters the Lake George off an easy victory against older horses over "soft" turf at Belmont. In her prior start, she finished about two lengths behind Lucifer's Stone in the Sands Point (gr. IIIT) after an extremely wide trip.

Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel won the Lake George in 2000 with Millie's Quest and two years ago with Nunatall. Frankel is back this time around with the British-bred Venturi. Venturi is making her U.S., seasonal and Frankel debut in the Lake George with jockey Edgar Prado.

$100,000-added Lake George Stakes (gr. IIIT), 3-year-old fillies, 1 1/16 mile on turf
1. Fortunate Damsel, Phil Johnson, Javier Castellano, 117
2. La Reina, Shug McGaughey, John Velazquez, 117
3. Galloping Gal, Ken McPeek, Brice Blanc, 119
4. Venturi, Bobby Frankel, Edgar Prado, 119
5. Seducer's Song, Christophe Clement, Jerry Bailey, 115
6. Savage Beauty, Allen Jerkens, Richard Migliore, 115
7. Delta Sensation, Frank Alexander, Jorge Chavez 117
8. Art Fan, Hamilton Smith, Ryan Fogelsonger, 119
9. Really American, George Weaver, Jean-Luc Samyn, 115
10. Lucifer's Stone, Linda Rice, Pat Day, 122
-- Main Track Only --
11. Capeside Lady, Todd Pletcher, no rider, 117