Caroline Thomas wins Grade 2 Woodford Reserve Lake Placid Stakes at Saratoga

Webster graduate Caroline Thomas won her first stake race today for owner Bonner Young eclipsing the $200,000 Woodford Reserve Lake Placid Stakes (gr. IIT). The Giant’s Causeway, is the first foal out of grade I winner Bit of Whimsy, also a Webster graduate.

Reprinted from the Bloodhorse

Caroline Thomas picked up the first stakes win of her career when moved up in the $200,000 Woodford Reserve Lake Placid Stakes (gr. IIT) due to the disqualification of original winner Nellie Cashman Aug. 18 on the inner turf at Saratoga Race Course.

Nellie Cashman, ridden by Forest Boyce at odds of 20-1, was adjudged by stewards to have drifted into the path of the rallying Watsdachances in deep stretch. First under the line by a nose over Caroline Thomas, she was demoted to third, with Watsdachances placed second.

Javier Castellano, the rider of Watsdachances, lodged the objection against Nellie Cashman after his mount finished a neck behind the first two.

Caroline Thomas, by Giant’s Causeway, is the first foal out of grade I winner Bit of Whimsy, who captured the the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (gr. IT), the Mrs. Revere Stakes (gr. IITT), and Sands Point Stakes (gr. IIIT) in 2007. Bred in Kentucky by Bonner Young and raced by Joyce B. Young, Caroline Thomas posted her first win from six starts this year at odds of 11-1. Rosie Napravnik was the winning rider for trainer Barclay Tagg.

“She ran a splendid race,” Tagg said. “Whether we got put up or not, she was only beaten a couple of inches. She ran the race we’ve been looking for.

“We had the grade I Garden City and the Queen Elizabeth II that her mother 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.”

As for the disqualification, Tagg said, “I thought it looked like you could take it down and not be criticized for it. Everybody had to move out of their lane.”

Seven sophomore fillies contested the 1 1/8-mile Lake Placid, which was timed in a good 1:47.36 over firm going.

Tapicat, the 11-10 favorite, took command at the start to lead by as many as 2 1/2 lengths while clipping off reasonable fractions of :23.68, :48.13, and 1:12.31. Silsita and Nellie Cashman followed the pacesetter into the stretch before Tapicat, leading by 1 1/2 lengths mid-stretch, weakened in the final furlong to be swallowed up by Nellie Cashman.

Caroline Thomas and Watsdachances were coming with a rush approaching the wire as Nellie Cashman drifted out despite right-handed urging from Boyce.

“Even though we were lucky to be put up for the win, I thought my filly really ran a winning race, anyway. She worked so excellent over the grass the other day,” Napravnik said in reference to a :46 4/5 move Aug. 15. “I had a lot of confidence in her and she ran excellent.”

“When Caroline Thomas made that move, my horse (Watsdachances) took off again,” Castellano said. “I had to stop my momentum because the other horse inside, she drifted. I don’t blame (Boyce), she did the best she could. But she hit her right-handed and she never corrected the horse to go by. It cost me the place. I could have won by a neck, who knows? Unfortunately, it went a different way today.”

The winner was coming off a seventh-place finish in the restricted My Princess Jess Stakes over the Saratoga inner lawn July 20, a race in which she was bumped while rallying at the eighth pole. Prior to that she was third, beaten a head, in a stakes named for her dam at Belmont Park June 16. Her last victory came in an allowance/optional claiming race on the Gulfstream Park turf Dec. 16.

Bit of Whimsy has produced a yearling Bernardini filly and was bred to Giant’s Causeway again for 2014.

Caroline Thomas improved her career mark to 3-1-2 in nine starts with earnings of $230,734.

Carrying 116 pounds, she paid $25.20, $7, and $5.20 as the second-longest shot on the board. Watsdachances, second last time to Kitten’s Dumplings in the lake George Stakes (gr. IIT) over the Saratoga inner course July 24, returned $3.80 and $3. The $2 exacta was worth $100.50. Nellie Cashman, winner of the Virginia Oaks (gr. IIT) last time out, was $5.80 to show.

Concise finished fourth, followed by Tapicat, Silsita, and Broken Vow . Flash Forward and Skyfall were entered for the main track only.