The race looks like a showdown between the winner of last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G2) and a Group 1 winner making her U.S. debut.
The Wayne Catalano trained Stephanie’s Kitten had a strong juvenile campaign, taking the Alcibiades (G1) at Keeneland over polytrack, and followed up that win by taking the Juvenile Fillies Turf at 6-1 odds.
The daughter of Kitten’s Joy makes her third start of her 2012 campaign, her last outing a win in the Edgewood at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Oaks Day.
The filly is the 5-2 morning line favorite, but overseas invader Samitar certainly has the credentials to be a major player in the race.
The Michael Channon trained Samitar was fourth in the Coronation Stakes (G1) at Ascot in her last start. Two back she won the Irish 1000 Guineas (G1) at the Curragh, pulling off the upset at 12-1 odds.
Ramon Dominguez gets the call on the daughter of Rock of Gibraltar, who will remain in the U.S. after the Lake George, with Chad Brown taking over the training duties.
Trainer Todd Pletcher will send out a pair of runners, Boiling Springs (G3) winner dancing Solo (10-1) and the undefeated Medolina (5-1), who won the Tweedside in her stakes debut on June 24 at Belmont Park.
Pletcher went 0 for 3 on Monday and now stands at 1 for 22 at the meeting.
The trainer set an all-time record last summer with 38 winners, but sure has gotten off to a tardy start this year. He has runners in four races on the Wednesday card.
Pletcher has had a dozen runners lose at odds of 3-1 or less. His lone winner so far at the meeting was first time starter Kauai Kate, who broke her maiden on Saturday by 12 lengths and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 100.
His meeting depends a lot on how his juveniles perform, and so far he is 1 for 9 with six of those runners landing in the money.
His main man John Velazquez returns to the irons today after recovering from a broken collarbone suffered in a spill in June at Churchill Downs, but figures to take it slow this week, and has just two mounts this afternoon.
The jockey that figured to benefit the most from Velazquez missing the first week was Javier Castellano, but last year’s runner up in the jockey standings behind Velazquez is currently 0 for 14 riding for Pletcher and just 3 for 33 at the meeting.
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Let’s head out to Saratoga for Wednesday’s featured race of the day:
Saratoga Race 9 The Lake George G2 (Post time 5:30 ET)
6 Samitar 3-1
4 Better Lucky 8-1
2 Stephanie’s Kitten 5-2
8 Medolina 5-1
Analysis: Samitar invades from overseas and appears to be the one to beat here for the Channon barn, who calls the shot for this race and then hands over the training duties to Chad Brown. The filly pulled off the upset two back winning the Irish 1000 Guineas (G1) at 12-1. She came back to check in fourth last out in the Coronation Stakes (G1) at Ascot over ground that was soft and tiring that she did not care for. She seems better on firmer ground which she certainly will get today. The red hot Dominguez gets the call and we may get a fair price with last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) champ in the field.
Better Lucky tried turf for the first time last out and she was a game winner of the Sands Point (G2) at Belmont Park. She broke her maiden on the inner track in her debut and was fifth and third in a couple of stakes over that surface, and seems to be getting better with each start. She won last out at 8-1 and looks as if she will offer some value here and still appears to have some upside in just her second start on grass.
Stephanie’s Kitten has won three of four on turf in her career including the Juvenile Turf last fall . She made her three year old debut in the Ashland (G1) and checked in third in a decent effort off a five month layoff. She returned to the turf last out in the Edgewood and had some trouble getting bumped in traffic on the first turn and getting caught in a bit tight, and she drew clear late to win by two lengths in a good looking effort. She steps into a tougher spot here for her third start of the year for the Catalano barn and looks primed for a good effort, but her price figures to go south from her 5-2 morning line.
WIN: Samitar to win at 2-1 or better.
EX: 4,6 / 2,4,6,8
TRI: 4,6 / 2,4,6,8 / 2,4,6,7,8