Graded Preview: Turf Battle Set For Lake George

Liguria | Sarah Andrew

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If you are searching for some Saratoga race name history, then head about 30 miles west from the horse hubbub in the complete opposite direction of Lake George. On Route 29 just outside Johnstown, New York, you'll find Johnson Hall, an impressive Georgian structure that became a historic house museum.

In 1763, a century before Saratoga Race Course was founded, the manor was literally carved out of the wilderness as a symbol of refinement by power couple Sir William Johnson and his common-law wife, Molly Brant.

On their turf they held massive front yard meetings with the Five Nations of the Iroquois, were bestowed land and titles by the British government, and Brant, who hailed from an important family herself, was a Mohawk Indian that birthed eight children by the Irish-born Johnson.

Always controversial, Sir William is the culprit who named Lake George in honor of The King. Back in the future, the mere is not only a key pleasure spot, but it's also a Grade III turf race for 3-year-old fillies which takes place this Friday afternoon at Saratoga. Here's a preview.

Over the past eight years, only trainers Brendan Walsh and George Weaver can claim wins over Chad Brown in the Lake George. Walsh will try to duplicate his feat from 2017 with Secret Money (Good Samaritan), who broke her maiden at second asking while sprinting on the grass at Keeneland in April before clearing allowance company a month later at Churchill Downs. Despite her fifth-place finish in the Alywow S. at Woodbine June 25, she was more than competitive.

A pair of other entrants who are of interest include Queen Picasso (GB) (Kingman {GB}), trained by Christophe Clement and Lil Miss Moonlight (City of Light) from Tim Hamm's shedrow. The former, who is also entered in the GIII Ontario Colleen S. up at Woodbine on Saturday, is looking to collect her third career victory in a row after she won last time out by two lengths in the GIII Soaring Softly S. at Belmont Park, while the latter has never finished out of the money.

Brown's entries comprise half of the 10-horse field and most handicappers will be looking closely at the strong stakes grass experience held by Liguria (War Front) and Revalita (Fr) (Recoletos {Fr}). Liguria won the Wild Applause S. at Belmont Park June 24 with a sweeping seven-wide move to get up in time.

Also part of the Lake George are a trio of Brown trainees owned by Klaravich Stables. Tax Implications (GB) (Mehmas {Ire}), who ran second to Liguria in the Wild Applause, and Utilization Rate (Fr) (Le Havre {Ire}) will be joined by Surge Capacity (Flintshire {GB}), who will have to answer the class hike question with only a debut score to her credit June 10 at Monmouth by 1 1/2 lengths. Her dam, Strong Incentive (Warrior's Reward) produced another Klaravich-owned trainee in GSW Highly Motivated (Into Mischief).

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