One of those winners was Zee Zee.
Friday, the gray daughter of Exchange Rate returns to the scene of her winning debut in the 13th running of the Grade 2, $150,000 Lake George for three-year-old fillies. The mile and a sixteenth event on the inner turf course drew a field of six, including one entered for main track only.
“She has been pretty good everywhere she has run,” Mott said. “She has run well in Kentucky and Louisiana. She won a nice race at Churchill Downs in the Edgewood.”
Among her graded stakes attempts was an eighth behind eventual Eclipse champion Indian Blessing over a sloppy track at Monmouth Park in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies and a fifth-place finish in the Grade 2 Beaumont over Polytrack at Keeneland.
“The Breeders’ Cup race was no good,” Mott said. “Her race over Polytrack was okay. I don’t think she was beaten badly. We wanted to give it a try. I think it is easy for some horses to get over it. I think a turf horse is more apt to run better on a synthetic surface.”
Her only graded stakes try on the turf was in the Grade 3 Regret at Churchill Downs, where she was third, beaten four and one-half lengths, behind Pure Clan in the nine furlong event.
“Perhaps the distance got to her in the Regret,” said Mott.
Hall of Fame jockey Kent Desormeaux, who as of Wednesday was closing upon 5,000 career victories, will ride Zee Zee for the sixth time.
One of two graded stakes winners in the Lake George, Shadwell Stable’s Alwajeeha looks to improve from her fourth-place finish in the Grade 2 Sands Point at Belmont Park in May. Along with being steadied at the half-mile pole, Alwajeeha carried the high weight 121 pounds in the Sands Point.
“I still thought she ran a good race,” said her trainer, Kiaran McLaughlin. “She gave up a lot of weight in that race to a pretty tough bunch of fillies. I think this group is going to take turns beating one another all year.”
Alwajeeha’s lone graded stakes win came in the Grade 3 Appalachian Stakes at Keeneland where she finished a head in front in a three-filly photo over Sweepstake and I Lost My Choo. Adding to her credentials, Alwajeeha was second to multiple graded stakes winner Bsharpsonata in the Tropical Parks Oaks at Calder.
“The Appalachian was a good, tough race,” McLaughlin said. “I think she’s got some class to herself after finishing behind Bsharpsonata. Alwajeeha is a nice filly who is doing well coming into this race.”
My Princess Jess is the other graded stakes winner in the Lake George field with a victory in the Grade 3 Boiling Springs at Monmouth Park in her last start for new owners Roy and Gretchen Jackson of Lael Stables.
In six career races, all on grass, My Princess Jess has finished no worse than second and earned nearly $200,000. After winning the listed Gaviola Stakes at Belmont Park on May 8, the Jacksons purchased My Princess Jess and sent her to trainer Barclay Tagg’s barn 17 days later.
“She caught Roy’s attention and he asked us to look at her,” said Robin Smullen, Tagg’s assistant. “I know he is always looking for broodmare prospects that are still racing. We looked at her. She’s not that big, but she is a great package.”
As in her previous five races, My Princess Jess settled behind the pace in the Boiling Springs before making a quick move and holding off a late charge from Much Obliged while running the 1 1/16 miles in a quick 1:39 4/5.
“It was nice; that was a very good race for her,” Smullen said. “She has such an explosive turn of foot and a long stride for her size.”
Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey has two fillies entered for the Lake George in Receipt and Forest Trail. Representing the Phipps Stable, Receipt has shown a liking for the turf with a close second-place finish and a win at the maiden level before finishing fourth in an allowance race.
Forest Trail, co-owned by Stuart Janney III and Phipps Stable, is entered for main track only. Forest Trail finished third to My Princess Jess in her last start. Alan Garcia has been named on both fillies.
Charles Kidder and Nancy Cole’s Stealin’ Kisses has dramatically improved since running on the turf for the first time last month at Churchill Downs for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas. After finishing second at 26-1 in an allowance race, Stealin’ Kisses, who will be ridden by Julien Leparoux for the Lake George, came back at the same level nearly a month later for the win.
Mousse Au Choclat crossed the Atlantic Ocean from France for Fares Farm and trainer Jean-Claude Rouget for this race. Fourth in the Grade 3 Prix de la Grotte at Longchamp in her first start of the year, Mousse Au Chocolat subsequently was second in the Grade 2 Prix de Sandringham.
-The field for Friday’s Grade 2, $150,000 Lake George
PP HORSE TRAINER JOCKEY WEIGHT
1 My Princess Jess Barclay Tagg Eibar Coa 122
2a Receipt Shug McGaughey Alan Garcia 116
3 Stealin’ Kisses D. Wayne Lukas Julien Leparoux 116
4 Mousse Au Chocolat Jean-Claude Rouget Christophe Lamaire 120
5 Alwajeeha Kiaran McLaughlin John Velazquez 122
6 Zee Zee Bill Mott Kent Desormeaux 120
7a Forest Trail Shug McGaughey Alan Garcia 116
a-Receipt and Forest Trail are coupled; Forest Trail is entered for main track only.