The $175,000 Lake George (G3) is one of several stakes at Saratoga trainer Chad Brown has virtually owned in recent years. He’s saddled the winner of the last four editions of the Lake George, and six of the past eight. On Friday, Brown will send out five of the 10 three-year-old fillies in the 1 1/16-mile grass feature.
Liguria and Tax Implications finished one-two for Brown in the June 24 Wild Applause S. at Belmont over one mile, the pair separated by three parts of a length. That reversed the form of their mutual debut at Monmouth last September, in which Tax Implications scored powerfully by 6 3/4 lengths.
“It was her first race off the layoff and she’ll improve,” said Brown of Tax Implications, who was making her first start since October. “They both ran very well.”
The remainder of Brown’s quintet are Revalita, who earned minor awards in the Herecomesthebride (G3), Edgewood (G2), and Wonder Again (G2); second-time starter Surge Capacity, who graduated in her June 10 debut at Monmouth; and Utilization Rate, a five-length graduate at Belmont last time in her third lifetime appearance.
“They’re only maiden winners, but both of them won impressively by many lengths and I’ve always thought a lot of them,” said Brown of Surge Capacity and Utilization Rate. “I don’t see an allowance race that fits them anywhere or any other stake that I really want to take them to, so those two are entered from limited opportunities.
“I really do think they’re graded stakes-level fillies. I don’t know off maiden wins, but it wouldn’t surprise me either.”
Also likely to attract support is the Christophe Clement-trained Queen Picasso, who improved her record to 2-for-2 with a two-length triumph in the May 27 Soaring Softly (G3) over seven furlongs. That followed a debut victory in early March over 1 1/16 miles at Gulfstream.
Princess Bettina dominated her rivals on the front end in the China Doll S. at Santa Anita back in March, but was caught behind a slow pace when rating at the back of a compact field in the Penn Oaks in her debut for Todd Pletcher.
Brown also has the marquee name in the $135,000 Curlin S., the nine-furlong test for three-year-olds restricted to nonwinners of a graded stakes over a mile this year.
That would be Blazing Sevens, who gave National Treasure all he could handle in the Preakness (G1) on May 20. The head loss by National Treasure was easily his best performance since his dominating win in the Champagne (G1) in October.
The Preakness was not so impressive a race for Perform, the Federico Tesio S. winner who finished a well-beaten sixth in the Pimlico classic. Also among the Curlin field of five is the progressive Scotland, a winner in two of three starts for Bill Mott, and the stakes-winning Lost Ark, a four-length allowance scorer at Monmouth last out.