SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – Proctor’s Ledge picked up her first stakes victory with a late, stretch-running move in the Grade 3 Lake George Stakes on opening day at the famed Saratoga. In the end, the margin was a 1 3/4-lengths win as jockey Javier Castellano sat fifth early in the race before exploding down the lane.
“I loved the way she did it; she got a slow pace, good position, and she finished good,” said Castellano. “She was impressive. I never rode her before, but she did amazing. She was in a comfortable rhythm. She was in a good spot, and turning for home, she kicked really well.”
“It feels great to get a (stakes) win at Saratoga (on Opening Day). I try to enjoy the moment. I get to ride the best horses in the country. The top jockeys in the country are all here and everybody wants to be at the top. It’s a great competition, but I’m looking more at the Grade 1 races because I think that’s the best (going) for the Eclipse Award.”
The win gave Proctor’s Edge her third of the season, but she had not been successful against stakes company heading into this event. In January, she was victorious in a maiden special weight at Gulfstream Park, then followed that win up with a nice victory against first-level allowance company in February for up-and-coming trainer Brendan Walsh.
After her two wins, she tried stakes company in her next three races, but things never did quite fall into place for her. Troubled trips and tough efforts muddled her form, but Walsh never seemed to lose faith in her ability.
“It’s huge for me, Walsh said. “Everything hadn’t quite fallen into place the last few times, but she did it today, so I’ll credit everybody. We finally got it right.
“We might come back to run later in the meet. We’ll leave her here and see how she comes out of it, and go from there. There’s a lot of spots for a 3-year-old filly at the end of the year, but I think she’s going to have a hell of a second half of the year, and I think she’s going to be a better filly next year.”
Proctor’s Ledge returned $14.20, $7, and $4.30. Party Boat brought back $5.70 and $3.80, while Fifty Five who $3.60 to show.