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SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – Con Lima and Higher Truth, 2-3 finishers from the Belmont Oaks (G1) are targetting the Saratoga Oaks (G1) for their next start and should draw a majority of betting interest, as the winner Santa Barbara is not expected to ship back over from her Ireland base.
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Trainer Chad Brown said Higher Truth, a daughter of the late Galileo, will target the Saratoga Oaks following her third-place finish in the Belmont Oaks.
“I thought she ran well. I was proud of her effort,” Brown said. “It looked like she was in for a good chance late in the race and picked up a piece of it at the end..”
Higher Truth arrived at the Belmont Oaks off 2 starts at 10 furlongs, breaking her maiden by a half-length over the inner turf on April 22 before defeating winners on June 10.
“She’s had three mile and 1/4 races in a row, so she’s gained a lot of experience and fitness,” Brown said. “I think down the road, she’ll be able to run even further.”
Brown said he could have at least two fillies for the Saratoga Oaks as Rocky Sky, previously considered for the Belmont Oaks, opted to wait for the second leg.
Owned by Peter Brant, Rocky Sky is a 2-time winner in her native Ireland, capturing the 10-furlong Salsabil last out on April 25.
“We thought she would benefit from more time going into the Saratoga Oaks, so that’s where she’s headed to,” said Brown.
Brown said recent allowance optional claiming winner Amy C will target the $150,000 Lake George (G3), a 1-mile inner turf test for sophomore fillies on July 13 at the Spa.
Owned by Madaket Stable, Michael Dubb, and Robert V. LaPenta, the 3-year-old daughter of Charming Thought broke her maiden in March at Deauville before shipping to North America.
“It was a nice first time from out of the country for us. It seems like she’s ready for a stakes now,” Brown said.
Santa Barbara Surges Late, Captures Belmont Oaks
Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Joseph Graffeo, Eric Nikolaus Del Toro, and Troy Johnson’s Con Lima, who entered the Belmont Oaks from a prominent win in the 9-furlong Wonder Again (G3), set a smart pace under Flavien Prat in the 10-furlong test over good going. The Commissioner filly opened up a 1 1/2-length lead at the stretch call and fought bravely to the wire, falling just a 1/2-length short of the rallying Santa Barbara.
Trainer Todd Pletcher said Con Lima will likely progress to the 1 3/16-mile Saratoga Oaks.
“She ran her heart out. It was a big effort from her,” said Pletcher. “She handled the distance fine and ran well enough to give her another shot.”
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