Patricia L. Moseley’s homebred Proctor’s Ledge sprinted home off a slow pace to add Saturday’s $294,000 Lake Placid (G2) to her resume. Following up on her previous victory in the Lake George (G3), the Brendan Walsh trainee became the third horse to sweep Saratoga’s graded events for sophomore turf fillies.
Proctor’s Ledge was dispatched as the 2-1 second choice while attempting to join Memories of Silver (1996) and Tenski (1998) in the Spa record book. Bet down to 9-5 favoritism was Uni from the Chad Brown barn. But Proctor’s Ledge got the jump on the import, and that proved decisive in a race that turned into a mad dash down the stretch.
The top two both bided their time at the rear of the small field, reduced to five by the scratch of Berned. Up front, Coasted had things her own way through splits of :24.39, :50.03, and 1:14.11 on the good Mellon turf. Party Boat tracked in second, with La Coronel a stalking third in her first start back from a fifth in Royal Ascot’s Coronation (G1). Proctor’s Ledge raced another couple of lengths back in fourth, and Uni was content to trail.
Turning into the stretch, Coasted came up empty despite her cozy trip, Party Boat briefly took command, La Coronel was flat-footed, Proctor’s Ledge peeled out wide to deliver her run, and Uni angled out in pursuit. Although the Lake Placid appeared up for grabs for a few strides, Proctor’s Ledge quickened smartly to establish separation. Uni also delivered a potent kick, but couldn’t bridge her longstanding gap with the winner.
Proctor’s Ledge, now two-for-two since getting Javier Castellano and Lasix, reeled off 1 1/8 miles in 1:47.74 – a respectable time in light of the early crawl. The chart indicates she zipped her final furlong in :11.20. Trakus clocked her last quarter in :21.99, compared to Uni’s in :21.97. But Trakus also reports that Proctor’s Ledge negotiated a total of 12 feet more than Uni.
Party Boat held third from La Coronel, who had the widest trip of anyone (15 feet more than the winner) according to Trakus. Coasted retreated to last.
Proctor’s Ledge shaped as an up-and-comer earlier this year at Gulfstream Park when breaking her maiden and rolling in an entry-level allowance. The bay didn’t immediately reaffirm that impression in stakes company. Third in the Appalachian (G3) and fourth in the Edgewood (G3), both times to La Coronel, Proctor’s Ledge displayed a stronger finish for second in the June 17 Regret (G3). She’s put it all together at the Spa, upping her line to 8-4-1-1, $361,083.
The Kentucky-bred is by Ghostzapper and out of the stakes-placed Arch mare Archstone. Her third dam is the outstanding turf mare Drumtop, also a noted producer responsible for sire Topsider and Group 1-placed performers Brogan and Bedford.
Quotes from Saratoga
Winning rider Javier Castellano on Proctor’s Ledge: “It’s always good to win graded races, especially at Saratoga. I like the way she did it. It was a slow pace. She’s a come-from-behind horse. The way she did it was very impressive. She was nice, easy and relaxed.
“You could tell the pace was comfortable. She was laid back. I liked the way she finished. I love the way she runs. No matter where you put her, she’ll always show up.”
Winning trainer Brendan Walsh: “She’s something else. To beat fillies like that so impressively, she’s been threatening all the time to do this and getting better and better. It’s just fantastic and great for everybody involved: super owners, my guys working with her. It’s just brilliant.
“I don’t know about the Breeders’ Cup, but you have to think about a race like the (Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup [G1] at Keeneland on October 14) next for her.”
Trainer Chad Brown on Uni, runner-up as the favorite: “I thought she ran great. The winner was very impressive. Uni had some things against her with the pace from the back of the pack, and finished very strong. I didn’t see the Trakus yet, but the final quarter must’ve been very impressive for the winner and Uni. A different pace setup might have helped her.”