CHECK THE LABEL GOES FOR FOUR IN A ROW
Trainer Graham Motion believes Check the Label continues to improve. If that trend continues, Check the Label’s five opponents in Sunday’s Grade 2, $150,000 Lake Placid Stakes at Saratoga could be in serious trouble.
Check the Label seeks her fourth consecutive graded stakes victory in the Lake Placid, scheduled for 1 1/8 miles on the inner turf, against a field which has yet to win a stakes. Check the Label overcame trouble to win both the Grade 2 Sands Point at Belmont and Grade 3 Virginia Oaks at Colonial Downs.
“She’s kind of got in a little bit of trouble the last two times, but she’s got that turn of foot where she can get out of it,” Motion said.
And that turn of foot is effective regardless of pace. In the Virginia Oaks, Check the Label got off slowly under Ramon Dominguez and trailed the field behind slow early fractions. She advanced steadily around the far turn, had to wait for an opening in the stretch, then burst on through when a hole opened.
“I know she didn’t beat the group of fillies she’s running against on Sunday but she certainly did it with authority,” Motion said. “I don’t know if its confidence or maturity or a combination of them both. I think it’s great Ramon knows her so well now and has such confidence in her. He was really thrown in a tough spot last time and she overcame it. She broke awkwardly, she could have been compromised.’’
Exclusive Love and No Explaining finished second and third, respectively, behind Perfect Shirl in the Lake George here on July 28. No Explaining, who gets a switch from Jose Lezcano to John Velazquez, should appreciate the 1 1/8 miles of this race.
It’s Tea Time, trained by Rusty Arnold, won a first-level allowance over this course on Aug. 1. She doesn’t have much speed, but “she’s got that one really nice run in her,” Arnold said. “It worries you in a small field sometimes but that’s what it is.”
Triple Cream, owned by celebrity chef Bobby Flay, comes in off a third and second in a pair of stakes at Monmouth. Trainer Jimmy Toner is adding blinkers to her equipment on Sunday.
“She just runs even all time,” Toner said. “We felt ‘Let’s try blinkers’. She’s trained well with them on.”
Hatheer, who won a first-level allowance at Belmont, completes the field.
The Lake Placid is carded as race 4 on a 10-race program that includes five claiming races.
by David Grening
On the New York worktab
Multiple Grade 1 winner VINEYARD HAVEN (Lido Palace [Chi]), a solid winner of the July 23 James Marvin S. in his seasonal bow, completed six furlongs in 1:14 3/5 over the fast main track at Saratoga on Saturday. The September 4 Forego S. (G1) is a possibility.
Multiple Grade 3 winner MYTHICAL POWER (Congaree), fifth in the San Diego H. (G2), breezed five panels from the gate in 1:00 2/5 in advance of the September 4 Woodward S. (G1).
Azalea S. (G3) winner PICA SLEW (Pico Central [Brz]), the penultimate finisher in the August 7 Test S. (G1) as the 7-2 favorite, zipped in a bullet :59 4/5.
Multiple stakes winner BARRIER REEF (Mizzen Mast), sidelined for more than a year, went in 1:02 3/5.
Grade 2 vixen WORSTCASESCENARIO (Forbidden Apple), third in the Lucy Scribner S., posted four furlongs in :50 3/5.
Grade 3 veteran ATONED (Repent), fifth in the James Marvin off a layoff of more than four months, traveled five-eighths in 1:02 1/5.
Grade 3 winner PRETTY PROLIFIC (Lion Heart), fourth in the Honorable Miss H. (G2), went in 1:02 4/5 over the fast Oklahoma training track. Next Saturday's Ballerina S. (G1) is likely next.
Grade 2 winner HOLD ME BACK (Giant's Causeway), winner of the Dominion Day S. (Can-G3) last out, worked in 1:01 3/5 over Belmont Park's fast training track in advance of next Saturday's Pacific Classic (G1).
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