07/31/2009 12:00AM

Be Fair wins Lake George in slop

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - D. Wayne Lukas admitted he might have mismanaged Be Fair when he tried her in Grade 1 races like the Acorn and Prioress earlier this season. But the Hall of Fame trainer couldn't have spotted his 3-year-old filly any better than Friday's $142,500 Lake George Stakes at Saratoga, which Be Fair won by four widening lengths over Mary's Follies after the race scratched down to just four starters after being switched from the turf to a sloppy main track earlier in the day.

The Grade 2 Lake George will automatically be downgraded to Grade 3 status because of the surface change, pending a review by the American Graded Stakes Committee.

Be Fair, a daughter of Exchange Rate, had never raced on grass or a sloppy main track before the Lake George. But she took readily to the wet going, quickly sprinting to the lead while kept off the rail by jockey Rajiv Maragh. Be Fair maintained a clear advantage until joined by the even-money Mary's Follies approaching the quarter pole, then reasserted herself after relinquishing command briefly in early stretch, gradually edging well clear through the final furlong.

Mary's Follies, making her first start since being purchased privately by owner Paul Pompa Jr. and turned over to trainer Rick Dutrow Jr., appeared to be in command after edging by Be Fair in early stretch but could not sustain her bid. She finished 9 3/4 lengths clear of third-place The Best Day Ever with Consequence fading badly to finish fourth and last.

Be Fair covered 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.61. She returned $8.40 in giving Lukas his first graded stakes win at Saratoga since Folklore won the Grade 2 Adirondack on July 27, 2005.

"I mismanaged her putting her the Acorn and the Prioress," said Lukas. "She's not a sprinter. I thought I'd try her on the turf because it was a Grade 2 for 3-year-olds and she'd been training well up here. I would have scratched her if the race had stayed on the grass. I wouldn't run a filly of her caliber first time on grass over a soft or yielding turf course. That just wouldn't have been fair to her.

Lukas said he may now consider the Grade 1 Alabama for Be Fair's next start.

"I might have to look at the Alabama if Rachel Alexandra stays in Alaska or someplace," Lukas quipped. "You know me, I'm an eternal optimist. I've made a living running horses where I didn't belong."

R Clear Victory upsets Hich Rock Spring Stakes

R Clear Victory led throughout to post a 1 1/2-length decision over 6-5 favorite Future Prospect in the High Rock Spring Stakes for New York-breds. Dr. D.F.C. finished another three lengths further back in third.

R Clear Victory, a son of Victory Gallop, paid $13.40 after running 1 1/8 miles over the sloppy going in 1:50.76 under jockey Ramon Dominguez.

- additional reporting by David Grening