09/01/2013 12:59PM

Saratoga: Samitar gets hard-fought win in Speed Boat Stakes

Barbara D. Livingston
Samitar (left) and jockey Javier Castellano beat Baffle Me by a neck in Sunday's $100,000 Speed Boat Stakes.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Trainer Chad Brown thought long and hard about whether to run or scratch Grade 1 winner Samitar from Sunday’s $100,000 Speed Boat Stakes due to the condition of the turf course, which had been softened by rain over the previous 48 hours. But in the end, he made the right decision, leaving Samitar in to register a hard-fought neck victory over a game Baffle Me in the overnight stakes for fillies and mares.

Samitar, who finished fourth in the Grade 1 Diana in her previous start, stalked the pace of Baffle Me from the outset of the 1 1/16-mile Speed Boat, decided over a course officially listed as “good” but which appeared to be on the softer side. Samitar engaged the leader turning for home, grabbed a short lead near the furlong marker, and was fully extended to maintain her advantage to the wire. Baffle Me held on stubbornly to the end while easily second-best, finishing 5 1/4 lengths clear of Deanaallen’skitten.

Samitar, a 4-year-old daughter of Rock of Gibraltar owned by Martin Schwartz, paid $4.40.

“Her best ground appears to be firm or firmer, both with me and back home before she came to me,” Brown said. “I was a little concerned about the soft turf, but we thought she classed up well. Mr. Schwartz and I discussed this morning whether to stay in or scratch. We looked at the forecast, took a shot, and stayed in, and it worked out.”

Brown said he’d likely look for another graded stakes for Samitar’s next start.

“Hopefully, this served as a little confidence booster for her, and we’ll shoot for something bigger now,” said Brown, who mentioned the Grade 1 First Lady at Keeneland on Oct. 5 as a possible option.