Stakes-winner Speaktomeofsummer will look to stretch out in distance in taking another crack against graded stakes company as part of an eight-horse field of sophomore fillies in the Grade 2, $150,000 Lake Placid Stakes at historic Saratoga Race Course on Sunday, July 19.
Owned by Waterford Stable, Speaktomeofsummer broke her maiden at second asking, posting a three-length score in a one-mile contest in her turf debut in September at Monmouth Park.
The Christophe Clement trainee capped her juvenile campaign with a two-length triumph in her stakes debut, earning a 77 Beyer Speed Figure for her win in the one-mile Chelsey Flower over good turf in November at Aqueduct Racetrack.
||Irad Ortiz, Jr.
|John Terranova II
Off a seven-month layoff, the Summer Front filly made her 3-year-old bow on June 20, running fourth in the Grade 3 Wonder Again at Belmont Park. After identical four-furlong works in 49.20 seconds on Belmont's inner turf, Clement said she is again ready to face high-caliber competition in her first attempt over the Spa's grass.
"It's a bit of an ambitious spot, but she's been working very well so we're giving it a go," Clement said.
A $135,000 purchase at the 2017 Keeneland November Sale, Speaktomeofsummer will retain the services of jockey Joel Rosario, drawing the inside post.
Trainer Graham Motion has twice won the Lake Placid, capturing the 2009 edition with Shared Account, and last year when Varenka dead-heated the Chad Brown-conditioned Regal Glory. In this year's edition, Motion will saddle a pair of contenders in Cat's Pajamas and Blame Debbie.
Cat's Pajamas, owned by Larkin Armstrong and Jack Swain, transferred to Motion's care after two off-the-board finishes over the main track under Hall of Famer Bill Mott to start her career. Motion switched the Street Sense filly to grass, resulting in back-to-back wins, starting with a 1 1/16-mile route on May 17 at Churchill Downs before besting allowance company by a half-length on June 14 at the same distance over Belmont Park's grass.
"I think being able to stretch her out as a 3-year-old and getting her on the grass has helped her," Motion said. "She's been impressive in the mornings since we had her. The time off has helped her, too. I think she can handle the mile-and-an-eighth. It's always encouraging when they can come back and duplicate their performances against winners."
Hall of Famer John Velazquez, a three-time Lake Placid winner who has been aboard for both of her turf wins, will be in the irons again, breaking from the outermost post 8.
Motion will also send out Blame Debbie, who earned graded stakes blacktype to end her juvenile campaign with a third-place effort in the Grade 2 Demoiselle on the main track in December at Aqueduct.
The daughter of Blame made her first four starts on the main track before trying turf or the first time in the Grade 3 Florida Oaks, where she finished 11th on March 7 at Tampa Bay Downs. Dropping down in class, she ran third against allowance company at 1 ¼ miles on June 21 at Belmont, setting her up for another stakes appearance on turf.
"I thought her last race was very impressive against older fillies," Motion said. "The key with her can be the distance. She likes to go longer and I think she's at her best on the grass."
Jose Ortiz picks up the mount for the first time, exiting post 2.
Ken Geren's Mirabell Mei, eighth in the Grade 3 Florida Oaks last out, broke her maiden in the race prior, posting a 2 ½-length victory in February at Tampa Bay Downs for trainer John Terranova.
The daughter of Palace Malice, purchased for $100,000 at the 2018 Keeneland September Sale, Mirabell Mei made her first start at the Spa last September, running fifth. She returns to famous track and will have Jose Lezcano pilot her from post 7.
Cindy Hutson and Robert Masterson's Lashara has only three starts to her credit but won at second asking in April at Gulfstream Park before running second to Lake Placid-rival Cat's Pajamas by a half length in an allowance race on June 14.
Hall of Fame trainer Mark Casse will see the English-bred daughter of Triple Crown-winner American Pharoah step up to stakes company for the first time, drawing post 3 with Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano.
Rounding out the field is Stunning Sky, sixth last out in the Grade 3 Regret on June 27 at Churchill, for trainer Mike Maker [post 6, Irad Ortiz, Jr.]; Key Biscayne, making her first stakes start in her nine attempts, for trainer Juan Alvarado [post 5, Manny Franco]; and Queens Embrace, a first-time stakes starter for trainer Kathleen O'Connell [post 4, Tyler Gaffalione].
The 37th running of the Lake Placid is slated as Race 9 on Sunday's 10-race card. First post is 1:10 p.m. Eastern.
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