Samitar, a Group 1 winner in Ireland, was previously trained by Mick Channon, who sent the filly out for her North American debut in the Grade 2 Lake George Stakes on July 25 at Saratoga Race Course, a race Brown watched with interest. The 3-year-old Rock of Gibraltar filly endured an eventful trip and was third in a blanket finish where less than 1 ½ lengths separated the top five.
Samitar is owned by Martin Schwartz, as is Whipsaw City, one of two fillies Brown is considering for the Grade 3 Noble Damsel. The 4-year-old daughter of Elusive City has not raced since finishing second by a half-length to Blue Maiden in the Glowing Honor overnight stakes on June 28 at Belmont.
“She had shed a frog and missed one race in Saratoga in the first book,” Brown said. “Then I put her in a sprint stake in the last book, and the race didn’t fill. So now I’m kind of looking for a race for her. She’s been training super, so we might take a shot at the one-turn mile here.”
Both of Whipsaw City’s North American victories came at a mile on turf at Gulfstream Park earlier this year. She was fifth over the artificial surface at Keeneland in the Grade 1, seven-furlong Vinery Madison on April 12 and sixth in the Grade 3, 1 1/16-mile Violet Stakes on the grass on Memorial Day at Monmouth Park.
The Noble Damsel could be the North American debut for Mackie Racing’s Kya One, a stakes winner in France who has been in Brown’s care since late July.
“I maybe haven’t had her quite as long as I would like before debuting her here, but she’s doing well and I might put her in there and take a look,” Brown said. “We’ll see. It seems like she might be better at further distances, but in her works she seems like she has some turn of foot and it might be a good spot to get her started in. I’m still kind of learning a few things about her, but she is training well. It might be a good spot to get a race into her and see where we are.”
A 4-year-old One Cool Cat filly, Kya One was sixth, beaten 2 ½ lengths, in the Group 2 Prix Corrida at Saint-Cloud Racecourse outside Paris on May 28, her most recent start. That race was against fillies, but she competed against colts in her three previous starts, winning the Prix Jacques Laffitte Stakes at Maisons-Laffitte Racecourse on April 5.
“She’s got some decent running lines,” Brown said. “She kept good company over there and she’s been running with boys. The last one was against fillies, beat two [and a half] lengths, steadied repeatedly. She’s a pretty nice horse. Like I said, she might be better suited going longer though, so she’s not a definite for the race.”
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Trainer Christophe Clement is likely to have two runners in Saturday’s Grade 3 Noble Damsel, with British-bred Federation and Naples Bay both looking for their first stakes victories.
Owned by Guy Roxburghe, Federation dead-heated for victory with Prize Catch in a 1 1/16-mile turf optional claimer on August 27 at Saratoga, her first win since posting back-to-back scores at Tampa Bay Downs after arriving in the U.S. late last year. Edward Cox Jr.’s Naples Bay also exits a 1 1/16-mile turf optional claimer, having drawn clear to win by 4 ¼ lengths on August 17 at Monmouth Park.
“Both are doing well. It’s a little bit quick for Federation, but she’s doing well and we don’t have another race until mid-October,” Clement said. “Naples Bay had a very nice allowance win at Monmouth and deserves a shot in a stakes. [Joel] Rosario will be riding Federation and [Jose] Lezcano will be riding Naples Bay.”
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When Bombaguia was headed by Air Support at the wire in Saturday’s Grade 2 Bowling Green, it marked the third consecutive time trainer John Kimmel wound up on the losing side of a photo in a stakes.
“But on the other side of the coin, they all ran pretty good,” said Kimmel, who saw Agilion finish second by a head to Effie Trinket and Sailmate come up a half-length short of Fiddlers Afleet in a pair of overnight stakes at Saratoga.
Kimmel initially had not planned on running Bombaguia back on 13 days rest after he won an optional claimer at the Spa, but the GoldMark Farm gelding was doing so well the owners agreed to supplement him when the field came up small.
“He put in a good effort. He ended up being the controlling speed in the race, which gave us a bit of an edge,” said Kimmel.
The trainer said he would give Bombaguia a bit of a break and bring him back in a month or so, with the Grade 3 Knickerbocker on October 13 or the Grade 2 Red Smith on November 3 at Aqueduct Racetrack possible options.
Kimmel added he is looking forward to the return of two of his stable stars: multiple stakes winner Friend Or Foe and 3-year-old Fire On Ice, who is entered in the first race at Belmont on Thursday, a six-furlong optional claimer.
Friend Or Foe, unraced since finishing fourth in the Grade 1 Whitney last year, had his first work at Belmont this year on Saturday, covering three furlongs in 37.12 seconds.
“He went in 37 and out in 49,” said Kimmel of the 2010 Empire Classic winner. “We’ll start some half-miles and see what happens. His legs are good, he looks good on the racetrack. We’ll look to bring him back maybe in October.”
Fire On Ice has made only a single start, but it was an eye-catching one. Last August, he rolled to a 10 ¾-length maiden win at the Spa, but then suffered a non-displaced condylar fracture in his left hind leg while training for the Grade 1 Champagne.
“He’ll have to shake a year’s worth of rust off,” said Kimmel. “He’s doing pretty good. His last few breezes have been good. He’s getting smart, though – when he outworks his company, he doesn’t even gallop out strong. He’s active, though; this morning he cleared out the shedrow.”
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Grade 1 winner Sean Avery was in good order Sunday morning after coming off a 13-month break to post a 2 ½-length victory in the six-furlong Affiliate overnight stakes.
“He’s fine,” reported Allen Iwinski, who trains Sean Avery for Black Swan Stables. “He came back in good order, he’s sound, and he ate up.”
Next up for the winner of the 2011 Alfred G. Vanderbilt will be either the Grade 1 Vosburgh on September 29 at Belmont or the Grade 1 Santa Anita Sprint Championship the following weekend.
“I’m leaning toward the Vosburgh,” said Iwinski. “I wish it were another week, but what can you do? It’s hard to come back after a year off and then come back quickly and repeat it. But he’s something else.”
ll, Sean Avery, a 6-year-old gelded son of Cherokee Run, is 7-1-2 from 11 starts with earnings of $386,180.
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Next Saturday at Belmont Park features a pair of important turf races for fillies and mares: The Grade 1, $300,000 Garden City for sophomore fillies going 1 1/8 miles and the Grade 3, $150,000 Noble Damsel at a mile for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up.
According to NYRA stakes coordinator Andrew Byrnes, likely for the Garden City are Grade 1 Ashland winner Karlovy Vary, third as the beaten favorite in the Nani Rose at the Spa last time out; Open Water, most recently third in the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks; Samitar, who finished third, beaten a neck, in the Grade 2 Lake George in her American debut on July 25; Somali Lemonade, who was sixth in the Lake George and third in the Grade 2 Lake Placid, and the Irish filly Tannery, winner of the Group 3 Kilboy Estate Stakes at the Curragh on July 22. Angegreen, Assateague, Gathering, and Pianist are questionable.
Among those expected for the Noble Damsel are De La Rose winner Julie’s Love, 2-0-2 in four American starts for trainer H. Graham Motion; the Christophe Clement-trained pair of Federation and Naples Bay; Embarr, winner of an optional claimer at Monmouth Park last time out; La Cloche, fifth in the De La Rose; Law of the Range, sixth in her stateside debut in the Grade 1 Diana; Silver Screamer, most recently fifth in the Grade 3 Matchmaker; Spooky Kitten, unraced since a second-place finish in the Wonder Where at Woodbine 14 months ago, and the Chad Brown duo of Kya One and Whipsaw City. Thundering Emilia is questionable.