The Spa Spot: Morning Breeze
The first full week of the 2012 season begins today with a 10-race program. First post is at 1 p.m.
- Two-time defending champion and newly elected Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez begins his return from injury with two rides this afternoon. Velazquez, who broke his right collarbone and bruised a kidney in a spill at Churchill Downs on June 16, will be aboard the 2-year-old filly Lucky Friend in the fifth and morning-line favorite Stephanie's Kitten in the Grade II Lake George, the featured ninth race. He is scheduled to ride one race on Thursday and two on Friday.
- 2011 Belmont Stakes winner Ruler on Ice makes his first start since finishing eighth in the Grade 1 Donn Handicap on February 11 in the eighth race. He is the 8-5 morning-line favorite in the field of seven horses going 1 1/8 miles.
- The $200,000 Lake George for 3-year-old fillies on the grass has attracted a quality field of eight runners. Stephanie's Kitten, winner of pair of Grade 1 races, the Alcibiades and the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf last year, is the 5-2 morning-line favorite. Martin Schwartz' Samitar, winner of the Group 1 Irish 1,000 Guineas in May, will race in English trainer Mick Channon's name, but will go into trainer Chad Brown's care after the race.
- The Grade 1 Diana will probably be overshadowed by the Grade 2 Jim Dandy because it is a Travers prep, but the Diana is expected to have a tremendous field, including defending champion Zagora, Hungry Island, Winter Memories and Tapitsfly. Entries for the Diana and the Jim Dandy will be drawn today.