07/24/2013 12:01PM

Steven Crist's Saratoga graded stakes analysis: Lake George


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Wednesday’s Grade 2 Lake George Stakes at Saratoga appears to come down to a rematch of the Grade 3 Florida Oaks on Feb. 2.

Tapicat was 9-10 when she beat 8-1 Kitten’s Dumplings by 2 3/4 lengths that day, but they’ll be much closer in price this time because Tapicat has not been out since that race, while Kitten’s Dumplings has improved and enters off two impressive stakes wins at Churchill Downs.

Kitten’s Dumplings earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 90 in winning the Edgewood Stakes in May and a 93 Beyer in winning the Grade 3 Regret on June 15, and those are by far the best figures in Wednesday’s field.

Whether Tapicat has improved with time off, or is ready to fire her best off a six-month absence, are unknowns. Kitten’s Dumplings’s sharp improvement since then and her recency edge make her the preferred choice today.

Saratoga was soaked by heavy nightlong rains Monday that moved two of Wednesday’s scheduled turf races to the main track, and there should be a lot more give in the ground than there was during the opening week of the meeting. That’s a reason to give a long look to Watsdachances, who has been a disappointment in two starts this year after running second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf last fall.

Watsdachances has not shown even routine improvement from her 2-year-old season to her 3-year-old campaign but might wake up on softer footing. She won the Grade 3 Miss Grillo at Belmont last fall on a yielding course.

The Lake George is the penultimate leg of a pick six that begins with a $245,278 carryover. I plan to use Kitten’s Dumplings as a standalone “A” and back up with both Tapicat and Watsdachances in equal strength. I can’t make a case for the other four in the field.

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