A dozen fillies and mares went to the post in the $150,000 Lake Placid Stakes (gr. IIT) at Saratoga and Snow Dance came away the winner in her first start against stakes company.
Snow Dance, breaking from post seven, lead from gate to wire, to cross the finish line 1 1/2 lengths in front of Wander Mom, with Mystic Lady another 1 1/4 lengths farther back in third. The final running time for the 1 1/8 mile turf event was 1:47.42.
The winner, who is owned by John Oxley and trained by John Ward, returned $21.60.
Snow Dance led the field through early fractions of :24.25 and :48.41, with Platinum Tiara following her every stride. Wander Mom was content to sit in third in the early going before dropping back to fifth at the three-quarters mark. Wander Mom closed ground in the stretch to finish gamely for the place, with Mystic Lady going three-wide to hold on to the show call.
For Snow Dance, the Lake Placid was her third start in nine weeks since a four-month layoff. The daughter of Forest Wildcat-Northern Pagent, by Spectacular Bid, Snow Dance entered the Lake Placid off two consecutive front-running allowance scores. She most recently defeated older horses in a second-level allowance on July 30 at the Spa.
Wander Mom entered the Lake Placid after a second place finish in the Office Queen Stakes June 23 at Calder, while Mystic Lady was coming off a second place finish behind Zonk in the Delaware Oaks (gr. III) on the dirt.
"We had everything our own way," said winning jockey Richard Migliore. "I watched tapes of her last two races today, and I saw that she had a high cruising speed. I wanted to get her out there and get her comfortable. She paced herself well. She was extremely even. I heard a whip inside the sixteenth pole; I guess it sounded closer than it really was. I probably didn't have to ride her that hard. I've always respected this outfit (Oxley and trainer John Ward, Jr.)."
"You can never be confident about a turf horse that runs on the lead," Ward said. "She seemed to do it very comfortably, and that's where she likes to be. Richie (Migliore) watched tapes of her two previous races and said that he had a high cruising speed. He put her in her cruising speed out there and had her relaxed. He did an excellent job."
The wiinner will be pointed toward the grade 1, $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland on Oct. 13.
"As for how we get there, I don't plan too far ahead," Ward said.