SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – Trainer Graham Motion’s Cat’s Pajamas takes the next step in her undefeated turf career as she makes her stakes debut in Sunday’s $150,000 Lake Placid Stakes (G2) at Saratoga.
The Lake Placid is a 1 1/8-mile route over the inner turf course restricted to 3-year-old fillies. This year’s edition attracted a field of eight and is the penultimate event on a 10-race Sunday card.
Here is a look at the full field for the Lake Placid:
1. Speaktomeofsummer 5/1 – Her first two turf starts were resounding multiple-length victories, including last November’s Chelsey Flower Stakes at Aqueduct (making her the field’s only stakes winner). She was unable to close into a soft pace in the five-horse Wonder Again Stakes (G3) while sporting blinkers for the first time, but trainer Christophe Clement sheds the hood (a 50% winning move) for her second start off the layoff.
2. Blame Debbie 8/1 – The favorite’s stablemate just missed by a neck last time out, a 1 1/4-mile inner turf allowance contest at Belmont Park on June 21. The race’s winner returned to champion last week’s River Memories Stakes, so expect improvement as Blame Debbie makes her second start off the bench.
3. Lashara 4/1 – Her turf debut, a 3/4-length success to break her maiden at Gulfstream Park on April 11, preceded a 1/2-length defeat over the Belmont Park inner turf at the hands of this race’s morning line favorite. She gets an extra 1/16 of a mile here, which may prove the difference-maker for this daughter of the 2015 Triple Crown champion American Pharoah.
4. Queens Embrace 6/1 – She had to drop down to the $16k maiden claiming level to earn her first victory, but that kicked off a hot streak that saw her win 5 of 6 total starts in that span. She faces much stiffer competition after running at Tampa Bay Downs and Monmouth Park in those races, but this filly has a real nose for winning.
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5. Key Biscayne 15/1 – The hard-trying filly showed improvement in her first start as a 3-year-old, missing by a 1/2-length before winning back-to-back efforts against her fellow Florida-breds. She failed to hit the board in her most recent effort while facing open company and must show considerable improvement as the waters get much deeper here.
6. Stunning Sky 3/1 – She exits an extremely deep edition of the Regret Stakes (G3) going this distance at Churchill Downs, where she finished sixth but was beaten only 4 lengths. Irad Ortiz, Jr., is back aboard for the third time after winning both of his prior appearances in her saddle, and he has a 26% recent strike rate when riding for trainer Mike Maker.
7. Mirabell Mei 15/1 – Her connections debuted her over the local outer turf course last summer, and while she failed to menace, she was talented enough to break her maiden in her next turf appearance. She failed to fire in her most recent start, March’s Florida Oaks (G3), but trainer John Terranova is a respectable 14% with runners returning from similar layoffs.
8. Cat’s Pajamas 5/2 – The morning line favorite faces a tough task for her stakes debut, but she broke her maiden in her turf debut over multiple next-out winners and followed that with a game victory over Lashara. The only question is whether or not she can handle the distance, but both victories came while going 1 1/16 miles, and John Velazquez is 22% with an ultra-impressive $4.99 ROI since 2019 when riding for Motion.