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.
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.