07/22/2013 4:41PM

Saratoga: Kitten's Dumplings faces serious task in Lake George

Tom Keyser
Kitten's Dumplings is 4 for 7 on turf.

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Kitten's Dumplings looks to continue her ascension in the 3-year-old female turf division when she seeks her third consecutive victory in Wednesday's Grade 2, $200,000 Lake George Stakes at Saratoga.

Kitten's Dumplings, a daughter of Kitten's Joy, is 4 for 7 on turf, having won her career debut here last summer and the La Senorita at Retama in November. After losing her first three starts this year, Kitten's Dumplings has recorded powerful off-the-pace victories in the Edgewood Stakes and Grade 3 Regret this spring at Churchill Downs.

"We've gotten her to settle and been able to get her back," said Mike Maker, who trains Kitten's Dumplings for Ken and Sarah Ramsey. "I think she was laying a little too close early in her career, and it took away from her finish."

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While there does appear to be ample pace on paper for Kitten's Dumplings, Maker knows that his filly is going to have to bring her best against a solid field that includes three other stakes winners.

"She's doing great," Maker said. "She's going to need to be - it's a tough race."

The last time Kitten's Dumplings lost on turf, she finished second to Tapicat in the Grade 3 Florida Oaks at Tampa Bay Downs.

That was the third consecutive victory on turf for Tapicat, a $725,000 yearling purchase made by Benjamin Leon. Following the Florida Oaks, Tapicat was sent to the farm by trainer Bill Mott and returned to his Saratoga stable six weeks ago.

"She was showing the effects of the three races, and we just thought she needed to be backed off," Mott said. "She's worked well here, seems to be doing well. Right now, I'm pretty happy."

Mike Smith, who guided Royal Delta to a front-running victory in last Saturday's Grade 1 Delaware Handicap for Mott and Leon, is in to ride Tapicat as well as Profetiza in the $100,000 Broom Dance Stakes earlier on the card.

Tapicat has won all three of her races on the front end, and she figures to be confronted early by Midnight Watch, a daughter of Stormy Atlantic who has won her last two starts on the front end.

A possible pace battle would not only benefit Kitten's Dumplings, but also Watsdachances, who seeks her first win of the year from three starts.

Last year, Watsdachances won the P.G. Johnson Stakes her in her North American debut and backed that up with a win in the Grade 3 Miss Grillo at Belmont. After a second-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, trainer Chad Brown was looking for a big year from the filly. She has lost her first two starts -- both graded stakes -- as the favorite.

Brown said he wouldn't mind if forecasted showers Tuesday were to soften up the Saratoga turf course Wednesday. Watsdachances will break from the rail under Javier Castellano.
"She has a nice cozy post, good pace, perhaps a little cut in the ground. I got no excuses going into this race," he said.

Blossom's Trail, 3 for 3 in lower-level competition; Maximova, 3 for 3 including an overnight stakes victory at Belmont last out; and Fab Flowers, who tries a route after three placings in sprint stakes, complete the field.