The Spa Spot: This time Stephanie's Kitten prevails
Stephanie's Kitten, red and white silks, moving to the lead in the Lake Placid
An ideal trip and a strong finish put Stephanie's Kitten in the winner's circle Sunday after the Grade 2 Lake Placid.
Jockey John Velazquez said he was more patient in the Lake Placid than he was in a fourth-place finish in the Lake George on July 25. He worked out a ground-saving trip in the 1 1/8-miles race, moved the filly outside in the stretch and she did the rest.
“I was on the rail the whole way," he said. "That’s where I broke, and we planned to stay there to save the best ground we could, and I stayed there till the three-sixteenths pole and worked my way out till I finally got out at the eighth pole. When I asked, she responded right away. It was a great effort by her and an incredible last eighth. I know she has it in her, and as soon as I pulled her out and hit her with the whip she responded right away, so I was very impressed at the way she did it.”
Stephanie's Kitten, trained by Wayne Catalano, was the even-money favorite and paid $4.20. She caught and passed Lake George winner Centre Court inside the sixteenth pole and won by a half-length in 1:48.51 on the inner turf course.
Catalano said the filly would likely go on to the Queen Elizabeth II at Keeneland on October 13 and then to the Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita.
Jockey Julien Leparoux had Centre Court in position to win after stalking pacesetter Medolina for a mile, but Stephanie's Kitten had a better finish in deep stretch.
“She got outrun," Centre Court's trainer, Rusty Arnold, said. "We had a good trip and were where we wanted to be. She kicked; that filly’s a good filly and she just outran her. We’re giving her weight, and that’s a little bit of a problem, but she outran us. They came home in 11 and a couple, and that’s tough. What are you going to do? My filly ran the whole way and she kicked home; she just got outrun. It was a very nice race. I’m thrilled to death with her. You never want to get beat, but we’re thrilled.”