Belmont Derby Day
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Queen's Plate Day
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Stephen Foster Night
Owner Virginia Kraft Payson leads Rutherienne and Garrett Gomez to the winner's circle.
The summer meet at Saratoga Race Course is the highlight of the eastern racing calendar, with some of the country's richest purses and most prestigious stakes races conducted in a resort setting. The opening Friday of the meet featured the $100,000 Lake George Stakes (G3). A field of eleven 3-year-old fillies faced the starter in this 1 1/16 mile event over the Mellon (outer) turf course, before an on-track crowd of 18,795 under hot humid conditions. Sands Point winner Rutherienne was sent off as the 5-2 favorite, coming off a close second in the Boiling Spring at Monmouth Park. In to challenge her were 3-1 second choice Good Mood, winner of the Regret at Churchill last out, and 8-1 third choice Sharp Susan, third in the Boiling Spring.
First time by with Dashes N Dots, Awesome Ashley, and Bees out front.
13-1 shot Dashes N Dots went to the front first time past the stands and set a pace of 23.13, 46.87, and 1:10.85 while as many as 2 1/2 lengths clear of 12-1 Awesome Ashley who stalked her for the first 5 furlongs. The quick pace took its toll as the pacesetters tired badly in the stretch to finish well back. 10-1 Classic Neel, who stalked the pace in fourth early, took over the lead at the 1/8 pole, opening up a 1 1/2 length advantage. However, favorite Rutherienne, who raced back in ninth early, found room along the rail entering the stretch. She took over the lead inside the 1/16 pole, and was all out to hold off the late closing 9-1 Lady Attack by a neck, in a time of 1:40.34 over the firm course. It was another neck back to Sharp Susan in third, while Classic Neel faded to fourth.
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 10 Rutherienne Gomez 7.50 4.30 3.10 6 Lady Attack Borel 9.40 6.50 7 Sharp Susan Desoremaux 5.30 Winning Time: 1:40.34 $2 Exacta 10-6 94.50 $2 Trifecta 10-6-7 727.00 $2 Superfecta 10-6-7-8 2,966.00
Rutherienne in the winner's circle with owner Virginia Kraft Payson on the far left. Winning trainer Christophe Clement said, "She’s as game as she gets. She’s great for this course because she is so handy. Garrett gave her a great ride. Sometimes, you get lucky; sometimes, you don’t." Clement said she would start next in the Garden City at Belmont Park.
Rutherienne returns after the race. Winning jockey Garrett Gomez said, "Just before we came off the turn, I wanted to make my way to the outside to give her a clear run. But they started to clog up and a couple started wheeling out. It looked like I was going to have to go 10-wide to get out there. I was actually saving a lot of ground and as I was saving ground, I kept picking up leaders and I was making it more difficult to wheel her out. My only worry was about the 1/8 pole, when I had to come through on the last horse. It got a little tight for a second, but she never thought about it, I did. She’s a nice, little filly. She gives 110% every times she comes out there. I wish they were all like that."
Second place finisher Lady Attack in the post parade. Lady Attack was next to last early on, and put in a very strong rally out five wide under jockey Calvin Borel but just missed. She improved her record to 2 wins, 1 second, and 0 thirds in 6 career starts with earnings of $85,878 for trainer Neil Howard and owner William S. Farish.
Third place finisher Sharp Susan in the paddock. Sharp Susan raced in mid-pack most of the way, and had to come out wide to avoid traffic at the top of the stretch, but she finished well to gain a share of the purse. She improved her career record to 3 wins, 2 seconds, and 1 third in 10 starts with earnings of $170,843 for owner WinStar Farm and trainer Bill Mott.
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