08/18/2013 6:10PM

Saratoga: Caroline Thomas wins Lake Placid by disqualification

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Barbara D. Livingston
Caroline Thomas (left) was elevated to first place from second place in Sunday's Grade 2 Lake Placid because of stretch interference by Nellie Cashman (right).

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – For the second straight race, Nellie Cashman upset a solid field in a graded stakes. Only this time, her connections didn’t get to enjoy it.

After upsetting last month’s Grade 3 Virginia Oaks at 19-1, Nellie Cashman finished first by a nose at 20-1 in Sunday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Lake Placid Stakes at Saratoga. But following a stewards’ inquiry and an objection lodged by Javier Castellano, the rider of third-place finisher Watsdachances, it was determined that Nellie Cashman, ridden by Forest Boyce, had drifted out several paths in deep stretch, interfering with Watsdachances.

Thus, second-place finisher Caroline Thomas, who was beaten a nose by Nellie Cashman, was elevated to first, and Nellie Cashman was placed third behind Watsdachances.

“Sure, it’s disappointing,” Tres Abbott, the trainer of Nellie Cashman, said. “I try not to come up to New York very often unless I think I’m pretty live. It’s nice to know the Virginia Oaks wasn’t a fluke. She’s got a lot of ability. Hopefully, she’ll come back.”

Asked if he disagreed with the call, Abbott said, “The call’s been made. I’m not going to go against the stewards and the decision that they made. It’s tough to ship into a track and not be a house horse, not be a house trainer, not be a house jockey. That’s the way it goes sometimes.”
Castellano said he claimed foul because Nellie Cashman came out several paths on him “and stopped my momentum.”

The beneficiary of the call was Caroline Thomas, ridden by Rosie Napravnik for trainer Barclay Tagg and owner and breeder Joyce Young.

In the stretch, Caroline Thomas rallied outside of Watsdachances, and the two were streaking to the line together when Nellie Cashman drifted out. Napravnik said the drifting didn’t impede her ability to ride her horse, but she wondered if Castellano would claim foul on her as well.

“I was confident I kept my path straight,” Napravnik said. “I figured he might have taken a shot. I don’t think we would have come down. I can say I’m glad I didn’t have to claim foul on Forest. She’s a good friend of mine, and her filly ran great. My filly really ran a winning race as well.”
The final time was 1:47.36 for 1 1/8 miles, and Caroline Thomas returned $25.20 to win.

Caroline Thomas, a daughter of Giant’s Causeway, won for the first time since Dec. 16 at Gulfstream. Her 3-year-old campaign had been marked by troubled trips, but Tagg was confident she was going to run well Sunday.

“I had a lot of confidence in her – that’s why I put her in there,” Tagg said. “Our big plan was the Grade 1s in the fall. We’re not going to get to them if we don’t run her somewhere.”

Caroline Thomas most likely will run in the Grade 1 Garden City at Belmont Park on Sept. 14.