May 30, 2023

Eight fillies seek first graded stakes win in Lake Placid

Speaktomeofsummer wins the 2019 Chelsea Flower at Aqueduct (Coglianese Photography)

Sunday’s $150,000 Lake Placid Stakes (G2) at Saratoga will mark the first graded stakes win for one of the eight 3-year-old fillies entered in the 9-furlong grass test.

Speaktomeofsummer is the only entrant in the field with a prior added-money win, that coming in the Chelsea Flower S. at Aqueduct in November. However, the Christophe Clement was possibly in need of a race when fourth to Sweet Melania in the Wonder Again (G3) on June 20, her first start since the Chelsea Flower.

“It’s a bit of an ambitious spot, but she’s been working very well so we’re giving it a go,” Clement said.

Trainer Graham Motion will take two shots at the Lake Placid with Cat’s Pajamas and Blame Debbie. Cat’s Pajamas is 2-for-2 on the turf since arriving in the Motion barn, including a half-length allowance win over Lashara at Belmont last month.

“I think being able to stretch her out as a 3-year-old and getting her on the grass has helped her,” Motion said. “She’s been impressive in the mornings since we had her. The time off has helped her, too. I think she can handle the mile and an eighth. It’s always encouraging when they can come back and duplicate their performances against winners.”

Blame Debbie didn’t pan out at as a Kentucky Oaks (G1) prospect on dirt over the winter and was similarly unimpressive in her turf debut in the Florida Oaks (G3), but the daughter of Blame turned in a much improved effort on the grass in allowance company last time, missing by a neck to next-out winner Civil Union.

“I thought her last race was very impressive against older fillies,” Motion said. “The key with her can be the distance. She likes to go longer and I think she’s at her best on the grass.”

In addition to the lightly-raced Lashara, another potential threat is Stunning Sky. Though she’s placed in only one of her previous four stakes attempts, she owns competitive Brisnet speed ratings.