March 28, 2023

Jouster cuts back in trip for Lake George

Jouster wins the 2021 Appalachian (G2) at Keeneland (Coady Photography)

Lake George S. (G3) — Race 9 (5:39 p.m. ET)

Jouster found nine furlongs a tad too far in her most recent start, but the speedy filly could prove a stronger threat as she shortens up to a mile for Friday’s $150,000 Lake George S. (G3) at Saratoga.

Winner of the Appalachian (G3) at Keeneland  in wire-to-wire fashion in April, Jouster attempted to win the June 3 Wonder Again (G3) at Belmont the same way. Despite setting an even slower pace than in the Appalachian, the Noble Mission sophomore was found out in the final furlong and finished fourth to stablemate Con Lima.

“Backing up to a mile is more of what she wants,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “I think that the key with her is backing her up in distance.”

Although the cut back in distance figures to prove beneficial, Jouster will also have to avoid pace pressure from the likes of Navratilova, who exits a victory in the Tepin S. at Churchill Downs, and Demodog, who makes her stakes debut after maiden and allowance wins at the Churchill spring meet.

The wide-open affair includes four Chad Brown-trained hopefuls. Minaun, victorious at Group 3 level in Ireland last summer, was impressive in taking her U.S. debut on April 30 after a very long layoff, and then missed in the Wild Applause S. by a half-length to the undefeated Runaway Rumour.

Amy C, 1-for-2 in France, opened her U.S. account for Brown with a half-length score against entry-level allowance foes at Belmont last month. Brown’s other two are Fluffy Socks and Technical Analysis, neither of whom were helped by the slow pace when finishing behind Jouster in the Wonder Again.

The field is rounded out by Tobys Heart, a half-length second to Navratilova in the Tepin, and Invincible Gal, who failed to fire as the Tepin favorite following a neck loss in the Soaring Softly (G3).