07/27/2012 3:55PM

Saratoga: Karlovy Vary tops Nani Rose

Tom Keyser
Karlovy Vary will prep for the Alabama Stakes in Sunday’s $100,000 Nani Rose Stakes at Saratoga.

Trainer Rusty Arnold began the week winning a turf stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Saratoga. He hopes to end the weekend in the same fashion.

Arnold, who won Wednesday’s Grade 2 Lake George with Centre Court, will send out Grade 1 Ashland winner Karlovy Vary in Sunday’s $100,000 Nani Rose Stakes, scheduled for one mile on the inner turf.

Karlovy Vary, who won the Ashland over Keeneland’s synthetic surface, is 3 for 4 on turf, including a third-level allowance win at Churchill in her last start.

Somewhat surprisingly, Arnold is using the Nani Rose as a prep for the Grade 1 Alabama at 1 1/4 miles on the dirt here Aug. 18.

In her only two dirt starts, Karlovy Vary finished seventh in Grade 2 Golden Rod at 2 and 12th in the Kentucky Oaks in May.

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Speaking of the Oaks, Arnold said, “She lost it in the paddock; new surroundings, huge crowd, lots going on, and she didn’t handle it well. She’s more settled now. I have a different horse now than I had in May.”

Arnold’s primary concern Sunday is the one-mile distance of the Nani Rose possibly being too short for Karlovy Vary, who has never raced shorter than 1 1/16 miles.

“It would be better if it was a mile and an eighth, but I don’t think it’ll hurt her too much,” Arnold said.

Among the more interesting rivals for Karlovy Vary is Dear Lavinia, who makes her first start since finishing fifth in a stakes in France in March. She raced in the U.S. last year, finishing last in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile FiIlies Turf.

She is now in the barn of Todd Pletcher and is owned by celebrity chef Bobby Flay.

“She’s gradually picked it up, been training pretty well, acts like a little bit of cut in the ground won’t bother her based on some of the breezes we’ve seen at Belmont,” Pletcher said.