Caroline Thomas declared winner of G2 Woodford Reserve Lake Placid
By Jenny Kellner | 08/18/2013 07:38 PM ET
Beaten a nose to the wire, Caroline Thomas was declared the winner of the Grade 2, $200,000 Woodford Reserve Lake Placid when the first-place finisher, Nellie Cashman, was disqualified to third for interfering with Watsdachances in the stretch on Sunday at Saratoga Race Course.
When the gate opened, even-money favorite Tapicat bounded to the lead and took the field of seven 3-year-old fillies through an opening half-mile in 48.13 seconds over the inner turf course. Still in front turning for home, Tapicat's grip on the lead became increasingly tenuous by midstretch and she was engulfed by a crowded cadre of closers including Nellie Cashman, Caroline Thomas and Watsdachances.
Closing fastest of all was Nellie Cashman, who took over with a sixteenth of a mile to travel and hit the wire first, but the long shot drifted out and interfered with Watsdachances, who wound up third, a neck behind Caroline Thomas. Following a claim of foul by Watsdachances' jockey Javier Castellano and a stewards' inquiry, Nellie Cashman was disqualified to third, and Caroline Thomas, who was also carried out while closing from fifth, was placed first. Watsdachances was moved up to second.
"Even though we were lucky to be put up for the win, I thought my filly really ran a winning race," said jockey Rosie Napravnik, aboard Caroline Thomas. "I had a lot of confidence in her and she ran excellent."
The final time for the 1 1/8 miles was 1:47.36 over the firm turf.
"She ran a splendid race," said Barclay Tagg, who trains Caroline Thomas for Joyce Young. "Whether we got put up or not, she was only beaten a couple of inches."
The victory was the first of the year for Caroline Thomas, a homebred daughter of Giant's Causeway out of the Grade 1-winning mare Bit of Whimsy, who also was trained by Tagg. Most recently, Caroline Thomas finished seventh in the My Princess Jess on July 20 at the Spa after losing contact with the field early on.
"We've been a little guarded about her this summer because her races haven't unfolded right," said Tagg. "The speed would get away from her each time and sometimes she was way, way, way too far back. I talked it over with Rosie ahead of time and I had her breeze her the other day. I thought she was in tip-top shape. I had a lot of confidence in her or I wouldn't have put her in there."
Sent off at 11-1, Caroline Thomas returned $25.30 for a $2 win bet and earned $120,000, more than doubling her bankroll to $230,734.
"Our big plan was the Grade 1's in the fall, and I thought we weren't going to get her to them if we didn't run her somewhere," said Tagg. "We had the Grade 1 Garden City [September 14, Belmont Park] and the Queen Elizabeth II [October 12] that her mother [Bit of Whimsy] won at Keeneland in mind all along, but our confidence was wavering a little bit with all the problems she had trying to get going in the races."
Tapicat, who finished third in the Grade 2 Lake George on July 24 last time out, wound up fifth, a half-length behind Concise.
"She had a great trip," said Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott of Tapicat. "Our test was to see if she'd get nine furlongs, and it looks like we'd better stick with races around a mile."
Completing the other of finish were Silsita and Broken Spell.