09/15/2012 6:34PM

Belmont Park: Distance proves no problem for Samitar in Garden City

Tod Marks
Samitar (right) holds off Somali Lemonade to win the Grade 1 Garden City Stakes at Belmont Park.

ELMONT, N.Y. – If there was one concern trainer Chad Brown had regarding Samitar entering Saturday’s Grade 1 Garden City Stakes at Belmont Park, it was the filly’s ability to get the distance of 1 1/8 miles.

In her first start at the distance, Samitar showed it was no problem as she took the lead from Ciao Bella inside the sixteenth pole and then outgamed Somali Lemonade to the wire to win the $300,000 Garden City by a head. It was 1 3/4 lengths back to Tannery in third.

The win made Samitar a Grade 1 winner both in the United States and Europe as earlier this year she won the 1000 Guineas at The Curragh in Ireland.

“I was happy to see her get the mile-and-an-eighth distance,” said Brown, who was saddling Samitar for the first time. “That was my one reservation watching her races and watching her train; she has the quality to do it, but I needed to see it, and I saw it today, which was great.”

Samitar is owned by Martin Schwartz and was ridden by Ramon Dominguez. Thirty minutes before the Garden City, Brown, Schwartz, and Dominguez finished second in the Grade 3 Noble Damsel with 3-2 favorite Dealbata.

In the Garden City, Dominguez had Samitar in fourth position, outside of Open Water and right behind Ciao Bella, who was chasing Karlovy Vary through modest fractions of 24.96 seconds for the quarter, 49.74 for a half-mile, and 1:13.86 for six furlongs.

Dominguez angled Samitar three wide for the stretch, taking over from Ciao Bella inside the sixteenth pole, and then kept Somali Lemonade, under Joel Rosario, at bay, for the win. Samitar, a daughter of Rock of Gibraltar, covered the 1 1/8 miles over firm turf in 1:48.74 and returned $3.70 as the favorite.

“There was some concern on my part, because judging by what I could see on paper there was no speed,” said Dominguez, who won three races on Saturday’s card. “The last thing I wanted was her to be a little too aggressive and be rank or anything like that. I was able to get right behind [Ciao Bella], I had somebody on the inside, but I always had cover and had first run on them, which worked out perfect. She dug in and ran hard.”

Brown said Samitar would be pointed to the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth at Keeneland on Oct. 13, a race in which the trainer also will be represented by Dayatthespa.