Already a Classic winner in Ireland, 4-5 favorite Samitar added an
American Grade 1 victory to her resume on Saturday afternoon, rallying
through the stretch and holding off a late challenge from Somali
Lemonade to take the 34th running of the $300,000 Garden City for
3-year-old fillies at Belmont Park.
The petite Rock of Gibraltar filly, third in her
stateside debut in the Grade 2 Lake George at Saratoga Race Course, sat
comfortably behind Karlovy Vary and Ciao Bella as they strolled
through an opening quarter-mile in 24.96 seconds, with the half going
in 49.74 and three quarters in 1:13.86. Guided into striking position
on the far turn by jockey Ramon Dominguez, Samitar grabbed the lead
with an eighth of a mile to go and had enough left to fend off a
determined Somali Lemonade and win by a head.
“My filly settled beautiful and she got a great setup
behind the two leaders,” said Dominguez. “I really had first run at
them, so it worked out great.”
Samitar covered the 1 1/8 miles over a firm inner turf
course in 1:48.74 in her first attempt at the distance. While competing
in Europe, she won the one-mile Group 1 Ethad Airways Irish 1000
Guineas in May at The Curragh and the six-furlong Group 3 Albany at
Ascot in England as a 2-year-old.
“I was happy to see her get 1 1/8 miles,” said Chad
Brown, who took over Samitar’s training for owner Martin Schwartz
following the Lake George. “That was my one reservation, watching her
train and in her races. She has the quality to do it, but I needed to
see it, and I saw it today, which is great.”
Samitar, who was bred in Great Britain by Norman Court
Stud, earned $180,000 for the win and now has bankrolled $855,941. She
returned $3.70 for a $2 win bet in notching her fourth career victory.
Next, said Brown, will likely be the Grade 1 Queen
Elizabeth II Challenge Cup, also at 1 1/8 miles, on October 13 at
Keeneland Race Course.
Runner-up Somali Lemonade was 1 ¾ lengths in front of
Tannery, who was followed in turn by Ciao Bella, Open Water, Trophy
Wife, and Karlovy Vary.