Race of the Week 2017

QE II Challenge Cup Next for Samitar

Samitar beats Somali Lemonade in 2012 Garden City.
Trainer Chad Brown reported Sunday morning that Samitar came out of her narrow victory in Saturday’s Grade 1, $300,000 Garden City at Belmont Park in good shape, and next will point for the Grade 1, $400,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup on Saturday, October 13 at Keeneland.


With her gutsy head victory over Somali Lemonade in the Garden City, the 3-year-old filly did something even her champion sire, Rock of Gibraltar, couldn’t accomplish – win a North American Grade 1 to go along with a victory in a European classic. Rock of Gibraltar won both the English and Irish 2000 Guineas, but came up just short in his lone North American start, the 2002 Breeders’ Cup Mile.


Owned by Martin S. Schwartz, Samitar captured the Group 1 Etihad Airways Irish 1000 Guineas at the Curragh in late May.


What struck Brown the most about Samitar’s Garden City victory was her tenacity.


“I think she is a tough horse,” Brown said. “She’s not real big, but she has a lot of courage. She’s a real battler. It didn’t surprise me to see her really battle towards the wire and hold that other horse off. The way she trained, she seems to be that way.


“Even in her first start in the country, in the Lake George, she was only in my barn for a few days, and I watched the race, I didn’t have anything to do with preparing her for it, but I thought she was hopelessly beaten at the quarter pole. I didn’t think she would get anything, and for her to hit the board, she really battled. It wasn’t a win but it showed me a little something there, and then when I took over her training, I kept that in mind, that she’s a real fighter. She’s a pretty brave horse.”


Brown was pleased with how runner-up Dealbata and fifth-place finisher Kya One ran in Saturday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Noble Damsel, contested at a mile on the firm Belmont turf, but feels that the race didn’t fit either of their optimal preferences.


Two of Dealbata’s four career victories have come at 1 ¼ miles, while Kya One’s lone stakes victory came going 1 1/8 miles.


“I think both the races that I’ve run Dealbata in at a mile have been too short for her,” Brown said. “Those races were available when she was ready to run, so we went for them, and she ran very well in both of them to her credit. But we probably would have been better suited waiting for races that fit her, even though they didn’t fit into our schedule.


“From here on out, I’m going to run her further distances and hopefully get some cut in the ground. I’ve seemed to always find firm turf for her too, and I can just tell from the way she moves, she is looking for some cut in the ground. She has done really well over here in her three starts, and I don’t think she’s had anything go her way, really, in terms of where I’ve placed her – surface or distance. I think if she stays together in good order, I think she’s pretty good and is going to win a big race.”


Brown also feels that Kya One, who was making her first start for the barn, needs more ground.


“I thought Kya One ran well,” he said. “We were in a little bit of a spot with her. We didn’t have anything that really fit on the schedule for her and we wanted to get a race into her and get her some experience over here. The feedback from Johnny [Velazquez] was that she was always kind of on the chase and never really took him anywhere. I think that was a function of being too short, almost a one-turn type of race with a fast pace and the field was spread out and there was not much cover. It kind of took her out of her sorts, but she got some experience over here.


“The way that she trains, there is no doubt that she is a graded stakes caliber horse over here. She’s really looking for longer distances, so she would be a horse that I might point for the Long Island [Grade 3, $150,000, 1 ½ miles turf, Aqueduct Racetrack, Saturday, November 10].”




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