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Lake George: Stephanie's Kitten vs. Samitar

07 October 2011. #7 Stephanie's Kitten and John Velasquez win the 60th running of the Darley Alcibiades, GRI $400,000 at Keeneland Racecourse for owner/breeder Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey. This is the first Grade I winner for sire, Kitten's Joy.

Wall Street trader Martin S. Schwartz said he cashed out all his positions this past week, and is all in on the horses.

“I’m in detox,” Schwartz, known as “Buzzy,” said of his at least temporary retirement from the market wars. 

Schwartz, 67, who lives in Gulfstream, Fla. and is the author of “Pit Bull: Lessons from Wall Street’s Champion Trader,” clearly doesn’t lack for confidence. His keen eye for a good thing – with the help of his bloodstock adviser, Michel Zerolo – led him to Samitar, who will go off as the 3-1 second choice Wednesday in the Grade 2, $200,000 Lake George, a 1 1/6-mile turf race for 3-year-old fillies.

Since his April purchase of Samitar, a daughter of 2002 European Horse of the Year Rock of Gibraltar, Schwartz has campaigned her four times in Europe under the care of former English soccer star-turned top trainer Mick Channon. His investment paid big dividends when Samitar took down a top prize – the Group 1 Irish Thousand Guineas, a European Classic race at The Curragh.

“I’m very excited,” Schwartz said. “We tried to buy her last fall, and they turned down our offer. I bought her in April. They had such horrendous weather in England – it’s been raining for six months there – and she prefers firmer ground. The Irish Guineas, I was at my high school reunion, and I didn’t go over, and I watched it on the Internet and my wife and I were jumping up and down.”

Channon, who won his first Classic with Samitar, has sent his son, Jack, to saddle the filly, and after the race she will be transferred into the care of Chad Brown, who handles Schwartz’s U.S.-based runners.

In the Lake George, Samitar will confront a field of eight, with one main track only entry, including 2011 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Filly Turf winner Stephanie’s Kitten, who has been freshened since a two-length score in the Edgewood Stakes on May 4 at Churchill Downs.

The 5-2 morning line favorite, Stephanie’s Kitten was bred by owners Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey, and a placing in the Lake George would make her a millionaire after just eight career starts.

Trainer Wayne Catalano is stabled at Saratoga for the first time this summer and said Stephanie’s Kitten is ready to go. She will be ridden by John Velazquez, who returns Wednesday from a broken collarbone suffered in a spill at Churchill Downs on June 16.

“The Lake George was our plan,” said Catalano, a former standout jockey who came up under the guidance of Hall of Fame trainer Jack Van Berg. “We were going to go to Ascot and the plans changed and we ended up pointing to this. It’s her main goal, and she’s doing very well this year.”

Darley Stable will send out Better Lucky, a daughter of Ghostzapper who won a 6 ½-furlong sprint by 5 ¼ lengths May 2 at Belmont Park and then won the Grade 2 Sands Point by a nose with a determined stretch run in her turf debut.

“I thought she ran a big in the allowance race, and I thought the Sands Point was coming up light and she fit well with that group,” said trainer Tom Albertrani of Better Lucky, 8-1 on the morning line. “I thought turf wouldn’t hurt any. I had her half-sister, and she couldn’t hardly break her maiden, but she ran well on both surfaces.

Albertrani said he is comfortable tackling the tough competition set for the Lake George.

“That’s fine; we’re up to the challenge,” he said. “We’ve already got a Grade 2 win with her. If she can come back and move up again, that will be even better. She’s been doing really well.”

Albertrani also has entered recent allowance winner Elusive Rumour, 20-1 on the morning line.

Trainer George “Rusty” Arnold will run the rising Centre Court, who stalked two long shots before powering past to win the Grade 3 Regret last month at Churchill Downs. A daughter of Smart Strike, out of the A.P. Indy mare Let – a winner of more than $600,000 – Centre Court has shown the ability to come from far behind or stalk the pace.

“Her mother was a really good filly, although she wasn’t a grass horse,” Arnold said of Centre Court, co-third choice with MTO Harbor Mist on the morning line at 4-1. “She won a Grade 2 at Churchill and we’ve been really high on her as a broodmare. This filly [Centre Court] looked good since Day 1. We’re really, really excited about her.”

Trainer Todd Pletcher sends out Medolina, unbeaten in three starts – all by open lengths – including the Tweedside Stakes June 24 on the Belmont Park turf.

At 5-1 on the morning line, Medolina will be joined by stablemate Dancing Solo (10-1), winner of two straight stakes races at Monmouth this year, most recently the Grade 3 Boiling Springs at the Lake George distance.

Rounding out the field is Grade 3 winner Somali Lemonade, fourth in the Sands Point and third in the Boiling Springs for trainer Michael Matz.

The field for the Grade 2, $200,000 Lake George:


PP

Horse

Jockey

Wgt

Trainer

Odds

1

Elusive Rumour (NY)

J Alvarado

116

T Albertrani

20-1

2

Stephanie's Kitten (KY)

J R Velazquez

120

W M Catalano

 5-2

3

Centre Court (KY)

J R Leparoux

122

G R Arnold, II

 4-1

4

Better Lucky (KY)

E Castro

122

T Albertrani

 8-1

5

Dancing Solo (KY)

J Bravo

122

T A Pletcher

10-1

6

Samitar (GB)

R A Dominguez

122

M R Channon

 3-1

7

Somali Lemonade (KY)

J Rosario

120

M R Matz

12-1

8

Medolina (KY)

J Castellano

120

T A Pletcher

 5-1

9

Harbor Mist (NY) (MTO)

 

118

P M Serpe

 4-1

 

 

 

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