Samitar, winner of the Group 1 Irish 1000 Guineas in May at the Curragh, and Karlovy Vary, whose biggest victory came when she wired the field at 15-1 in the Grade 1 Ashland at Keeneland, both will be looking to rebound off third-place finishes in their most recent outings.
Following that race – her first beyond a mile and her first over firm turf – she was transferred to trainer Chad Brown.
“I thought she fought well,” said Brown of the Rock of Gibraltar filly, who has had five published works since the Lake George, most recently a half-mile breeze in 50.99 Monday around the dogs over a “good” Belmont Park inner turf. “Now, we’ve had her in our care and we’re getting to know her a little bit. She seems to be training well.”
Ramon Dominguez will ride Samitar, the 8-5 morning line favorite and high weight under 122 pounds, from post position 3.
Trained by Rusty Arnold for Alex Campbell, Jr., Karlovy Vary had won three of her four starts prior to eking out a third in the Nani Rose at Saratoga. Her only loss in that span came on conventional dirt in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks, in which she finished 12th.
Off for six weeks after the Oaks, the Dynaformer filly returned to the grass and beat older fillies and mares in an optional claimer at the Garden City distance on June 23 at Churchill Downs, and then ran evenly at 3-5 to finish 1 ½ lengths behind Alaura Michele and Sweet and Lovely in the one-mile Nani Rose over the Spa’s inner turf course.
Julien Leparoux will ride Karlovy Vary, 5-2 on the morning line, from post position 6.
Somali Lemonade, a traffic-troubled sixth in the Lake George, returned to finish third, beaten 1 ¼ lengths, behind Stephanie’s Kitten and Centre Court in the Grade 2 Lake Placid. Trained by Michael Matz for Caroline Forgason, the Lemon Drop Kid filly is 6-1 on the morning line as she seeks her first victory since taking the Grade 3 Jessamine last October at Keeneland.
She will leave from post position 4 with Joel Rosario aboard.
Trainer Todd Pletcher and Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey will be represented in the Garden City, respectively, by graded stakes debuters Ciao Bella and Trophy Wife.
Ciao Bella, a gray daughter of Giant’s Causeway owned by Michael Tabor, has run three times, all on dirt. A 7 ¼-length maiden winner last December at Gulfstream Park, she returned to beat older fillies and mares at Monmouth Park on July 29 and next was an even fourth after a wide trip on August 17 in Saratoga’s Summer Guest overnight stakes.
She has since worked twice on the grass at Saratoga, covering four furlongs in 47.55 seconds on August 31 and the same distance in a bullet 47.28 on September 7,
“She’s a promising filly,” said Pletcher, “and we like the way she has breezed on turf.”
Ciao Bella drew post position 5 and is 10-1 on the morning line. John Velazquez will ride.
McGaughey, who notched his ninth graded stakes victory on the turf when Air Support took the Grade 2 Bowling Green Handicap on opening day at Belmont, will saddle the Phipps Stable’s Trophy Wife, recent winner of an optional claimer on the turf at Saratoga.
The Giant’s Causeway filly, 2-0-2 from six starts, will be making her third straight appearance on the turf, having won an optional claimer on August 5 at Saratoga and finishing fourth, beaten 2 ¾ lengths on July 15 at Belmont.
Eddie Castro will be in the irons as Trophy Wife leaves from the outside at 8-1 on the morning line.
Rounding out the field are Tannery, the Group 3 Kilboy Estate Stakes winner who is making her American debut for owner Richard Santulli and trainer Alan Goldberg, and Open Water, third in the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks last time out.