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Stephanie's Kitten Takes Centre Court in Lake Placid

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.
At the finish line of the Grade 2 Lake George on July 25, scarcely two lengths separated the top six finishers, with Centre Court prevailing by a neck over Better Lucky after a contentious duel through the stretch.  On Sunday afternoon at Saratoga Race Course, five of the six – including the top two – will return to fight for supremacy in the Grade 2, $200,000 Woodford Reserve Lake Placid for 3-year-old turf fillies.

 

Assuming the favorite’s role again Sunday is Stephanie’s Kitten the 2011 Juvenile Fillies Turf heroine who wound up fourth in the Lake George , beaten just a half-length after being bottled up in the stretch. Prior to that, Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s homebred daughter of Kitten’s Joy had been no worse than third in seven starts on turf and artificial surfaces, including her victory in last year’s Grade 1 Alcibiades at Keeneland.

 

“She’s been doing excellent since the Lake George,” said trainer Wayne Catalano of Stephanie's Kitten, who opened her sophomore campaign with a third behind Karlovy Vary in the Grade 1 Ashland at Keeneland, and next was a front-running winner of the Edgewood on the grass at Churchill Downs. “It was a tough beat, but what are you going to do? We’re looking forward to this next race, and I think the extra sixteenth will help her.”

 

John Velazquez will ride Stephanie’s Kitten, 9-5 on the morning line, from the rail.

 

A narrow second choice at 2-1 on the morning line is Centre Court , a daughter of Smart Strike out of the A.P. Indy mare Let, who established herself as among the top 3-year-old turf fillies in the country with the Lake George victory.

 

Trained by George “Rusty” Arnold for G. Watts Humphrey, Jr., Centre Court was an impressive maiden winner in her third start of 2012 on May 19 over the Churchill Downs turf, where she returned a month later to post a one-length victory in the Grade 3 Regret on the grass at the 1 1/8 mile distance of the Lake Placid.

 

With Julien Leparoux aboard, Centre Court will leave from post position 2 under high weight of 122 pounds.

 

Darley Stable’s Better Lucky rallied from 10 lengths back in the Lake Placid, her second start on turf. In her turf debut, the Ghostzapper filly was a nose winner of the Grade 2 Sands Point on May 28 at Belmont Park , which followed a 5 ¼-length victory in the mud on May 2.

 

“I’ve had horses who ran well in the mud come back and take to the grass,” said trainer Tom Albertrani. “The Sands Point was coming up light, so really we were just taking a chance. It worked out.”

 

The Lake Placid will be Better Lucky’s first start beyond 1 1/16 miles, but Albertrani said the extra distance should not bother her.

 

“Longer distance could help her, because she was closing in the last race,” he said. “She got pinched back into the first turn and ended up closing well.”

 

Eddie Castro will ride Better Lucky, 5-1 on the morning line, from post position 4.

 

Returning to the Saratoga turf for the first time since her 2011 debut is the Todd Pletcher-trained Disposablepleasure, most recently a well-beaten fourth in the Grade 1 TVG Coaching Club American Oaks on July 21 at the Spa.

 

The Giacomo filly, who closed out her 2-year-old campaign with a gutsy victory in the Grade 2 Demoiselle at Aqueduct Racetrack, has yet to return to the winner’s circle, garnering a third in the Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks, a second in the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan and a second in the Grade 1 Mother Goose at Belmont .

 

“As a 2-year-old, we felt like we saw quite a bit of improvement when we worked her on the turf,” said Pletcher, who will also saddle Wertheimer and Frere’s Medolina, whose three-race win streak was snapped when she finished fifth in the Lake George. “Her first start was on the grass. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t quite what we had expected. Then she started running successfully on the dirt, so we’ve kind of had a delay getting back to the turf.

 

“Based on her last race here, which wasn’t as good as we were expecting, we thought about trying the grass again. And now that having her worked twice on it since then, it seems like she really does like it. So we’re excited about getting her back on it.”

 

Saratoga ’s leading rider, Ramon Dominguez, will be aboard Disposablepleasure, 8-1 on the morning line, from post position 5. Medolina, 4-1 on the morning line, will leave from post position 3 under Javier Castellano.

 

Rounding out the field is Somali Lemonade, who was sixth in the Lake George.

 

The field for the Grade 2, $200,000 Woodford Reserve Lake Placid:

PP

Horse

Jockey

Wgt

Trainer

Odds

1

Stephanie's Kitten (KY)

J R Velazquez

118

W M Catalano

 9-5

2

Centre Court (KY)

J R Leparoux

122

G R Arnold, II

 2-1

3

Medolina (KY)

J Castellano

118

T A Pletcher

 4-1

4

Better Lucky (KY)

E Castro

120

T Albertrani

 5-1

5

Disposablepleasure (KY)

R A Dominguez

116

T A Pletcher

 8-1

6

Somali Lemonade (KY)

J Rosario

118

M R Matz

12-1

 

 

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