Despite neither being stakes winners, the Chad Brown-trained pair of Altea and Punked are sure to attract significant support in Friday’s $150,000 Lake George (G3) on opening day of the 40-day Saratoga meet.
The Lake George, for three-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles on the turf, drew a field of seven, plus a main track only entry from Wesley Ward.
Altea adds blinkers after consecutive fifth-place finishes in the Edgewood (G3) and Wonder Again (G3), the latter when she was compromised in part by a slow pace. Group 3-placed at two in France, Altea just missed catching Andina Del Sur and Goodthingstaketime in the Florida Oaks (G3), her U.S. debut
Punked was fourth in her U.S. debut, at Keeneland, to eventual Edgewood winner Toinette. She rebounded to take an allowance at Belmont, and was most recently second in the one-mile Wild Applause at Belmont.
Andina Del Sur has not flattered her Florida Oaks form, finishing a distant fourth in the Ashland (G1) on dirt and sixth in the Wonder Again. Goodthingstaketime has fared better, finishing third in the Appalachian (G3) and Penn Oaks.
Daddy Is a Legend won the Jimmy Durante (G3) at Del Mar last fall, but has settled for minor awards in the Appalachian, Edgewood, and Wonder Again this season. Alcibiades (G1) winner Heavenly Love ran her best race of the year in four tries last out in the Regret (G3) at Churchill Downs despite a troubled start.
The relative outsider in the main body of the field is Going Out, photo-finish winner of a first-level allowance at Monmouth last time. Entered for the main track is Nootka Sound, who captured the off-the-turf Soaring Softly (G3) by four lengths at Belmont two months ago.
A field of 10 juvenile fillies will line up in the $150,000 Schuylerville (G3) over six furlongs, and the race appears evenly matched on paper.
The public perhaps will focus on the Mark Casse-trained duo of Catherinethegreat and Tapping Pearl, last-out graduates at Gulfstream and Churchill Downs, respectively, as well as the Todd Pletcher-trained Monmouth debut winner Nonna Madeline.
Lady Apple and Eyeinthesky finished second and third, respectively, in the Astoria at Belmont Park, while the remainder of the field includes recent graduates Congrats Gal, Fightress, Lonely Road, Serengeti Empress, and Blame the Frog.