Camelot Kitten.

Camelot Kitten.

Skip Dickstein

Brown’s Stable Loaded in Saranac on Turf

Leading trainer has dominated graded grass stakes at Saratoga.

With six wins in the nine graded turf stakes at the Saratoga Race Course meet, trainer Chad Brown looks poised to add to that tally as he sends out three solid contenders in the seven-horse field entered in the $300,000 Saranac Stakes (gr. IIIT).

At 1 1/8 miles over the inner turf course, the Saranac for 3-year-olds is the fifth race on the Sept. 3 program, with an estimated post of 2:45 p.m. EDT.

All three of the Saranac entrants from Brown, the meet’s leading trainer, have previous wins on grass during the meet. Topping the group is Camelot Kitten, a Ken and Sarah Ramsey homebred seeking his fourth graded win of the year.

In his previous start, the son of Kitten's Joy  edged a game Airoforce  by a nose in the $200,000 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes (gr. IIT) for 3-year-olds Aug. 5. He has won three of his past four starts since adding blinkers.

Irad Ortiz Jr. has the mount on Camelot Kitten from post position 2 while shouldering high weight of 123 pounds.

Brown's other two—Call Provision and Ray's The Bar—are both seeking their first stakes wins, New York-bred Call Provision made a strong move in upper stretch before finishing a narrowly beaten third to Camelot Kitten in the Penine Ridge (gr. IIIT) in his second career start. The Lemon Drop Kid  gelding enters the Saranac following an impressive score against state-breds in an allowance race Aug. 11.

Ray's The Bar, a British-bred son of Exceed and Excel, was a handy winner of a first-level allowance race July 30 at Saratoga. 

Of the non-Brown contenders, Strike Midnight comes in off a third in the Hall of Fame for trainer Leah Gyarmati. The son of Smart Strike won a one-mile allowance in his 3-year-old debut June 3 at Belmont Park. The allowance race's runner-up, Inspector Lynley, subsequently finished third in the Kent Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Delaware Park and is also entered in the Saranac. Our Way, who ran third in that allowance, returned to win his next two races, including the Aug. 29 Better Talk Now at Saratoga.

"With each race, he seems to be getting better and better, and acting more professional," Gyarmati said of Strike Midnight. "I think maturity is part of it. But I think it's also experience, more than anything. We gave him some time off, after turf racing ended last year, and then we had to start all over again."

Gyamarti was pleased with Strike Midnight’s Hall of Fame effort but hoped he could have found running room earlier.

"It was a very impressive effort," Gyarmati said, "but also a little frustrating that we couldn't get out a little earlier, because who knows, I think we could have gotten there and won it, with a little more running room earlier."

Entries: Saranac S. (G3T)

Saratoga Race Course, Saturday, September 03, 2016, Race 5

  • Grade III
  • 1 1/8m
  • Inner turf
  • $300,000
  • 3 yo
  • 2:45 PM (local)
11Inspector Lynley (KY)Joel Rosario117Claude R. McGaughey III8/1
22Camelot Kitten (KY)Irad Ortiz, Jr.123Chad C. Brown9/5
33Call Provision (NY)Jose L. Ortiz117Chad C. Brown6/1
44Strike Midnight (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateManuel Franco117Leah Gyarmati4/1
55Ray's The Bar (GB)Javier Castellano117Chad C. Brown9/2
66Isotherm (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJohn R. Velazquez121George Weaver5/1
77Copingaway (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateRicardo Santana, Jr.119Jaime Mejia15/1