07/23/2012 1:32PM

Saratoga: Samitar brings class from Europe for U.S. debut in Lake George

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Barbara D. Livingston
Samitar, trainer Martin Schwartz's latest import from Europe, will make her U.S. debut in the Lake George.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Owner Martin Schwartz has a long history of buying horses based in Europe, bringing them to the United States and winning graded stakes with them.

Schwartz hopes that Samitar can follow in the hoofprints of Stacelita, Angara, and Gorella when she makes her North American debut in Wednesday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Lake George Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Saratoga.

A solid eight-horse field which includes six graded or group stakes winners was entered for the Lake George, scheduled for 1 1/16 miles over the Mellon Turf Course.

“It’s a good field,” Schwartz said. “I think if she has her ‘A’ game she’ll be better than them. What I’m worried about is the travel; you never know what you’re going to get off the plane.”

[LAKE GEORGE: Get Saratoga past performances, watch video updates]

Samitar has been here for only a week or so, having gone 1 for 4 this year in Europe, the one win coming in the Group 1 Irish 1000 Guineas in May. The runner-up from that race, Ishvana, came back to win the Group 3 Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Samitar also ran at Ascot, finishing fourth in the Group 1 Coronation Stakes, a race in which she pressed the pace over yielding turf and encountered a strong headwind, according to Schwartz.

“Everybody from the back ended up in front,” Schwartz said. “It was kind of a throw-out race.”

Schwartz believes Samitar prefers firm turf, which she should get on Wednesday.

“This ground should be right up her alley,” said Schwartz, who will leave the horse in the U.S. with Chad Brown following this race.

Stephanie’s Kitten is 3 for 4 on turf including victories in last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf and, most recently, the Edgewood Stakes at Churchill in May. She was scheduled to run at Royal Ascot, but missed that race after scoping with a little mucus.

“She was not quite perfect for shipping so we decided to wait,” trainer Wayne Catalano said. “She’s fine now. We’re going over with a ready, fresh horse.”

John Velazquez will ride Stephanie’s Kitten. He also rides a 2-year-old Wednesday for Todd Pletcher, marking his return to race-riding after missing five weeks due to a fractured collarbone.

Centre Court goes into the Lake George having won her last two starts on turf, including the Grade 3 Regret at Churchill. Trainer Rusty Arnold believes Centre Court has thrived at Saratoga.

“She got up here and she’s done excellent,” Arnold said. “Tough race.”

Dancing Solo has gone 2 for 2 since being put back on turf by Pletcher. She is coming off a victory in the Grade 3 Boiling Springs at Monmouth.

“She seems to be settling well in her races, finishing strongly,” Pletcher said. “It’ll be interesting – another step up in class for her – but she’s doing very well.”

Pletcher also sends out Medolina, who is undefeated in three starts and who makes her graded stakes debut in this spot.

Trainer Tom Albertrani sends out the uncoupled entry of Better Lucky, winner of the Sands Point, and Elusive Rumour, a recent New York-bred allowance winner.