Back from Europe, Miss Temple City ready to take charge in Lake Placid
Runner-up to Lady Eli in the Appalachian (G3) at Keeneland in April, the Graham Motion trainee rebounded with an easy victory in the $100,000 Hilltop at Pimlico the following month. It was then decided to send her to England for one of that country's crown jewels, the Coronation (G1) at Royal Ascot.
Facing the best sophomore filly milers in Europe, Miss Temple City belied her 50-1 starting price and ran an outstanding race. At the wire she was fourth, just two lengths behind French 1000 Guineas (G1) winner Ervedya. In between them were Found and Lucida, the respective runners-up in the Irish (G1) and English 1000 Guineas (G1).
"It's a shame that it set up a little awkwardly," Motion said. "She just didn't settle early because she was kind of hung out on the outside. It's a little awkward the way you come out of a chute into a straightaway there, and what you don't realize unless you're there is you go a quarter of a mile and then it's uphill all the way to the wire. It's grueling."
In contrast to the meet's first graded stakes for the division, the July 24 Lake George (G2), the Lake Placid drew a small field of five plus one main-track-only entry. Indeed, no Lake George participant has been wheeled back on three weeks' rest for the nine-furlong Lake Placid.
The Belmont Oaks (G1), though, has yielded three Lake Placid starters, including two trained by Chad Brown. Consumer Credit defeated Miss Temple City when they last met in the Sweetest Chant (G3) at Gulfstream back in January, and followed that with a second in the Florida Oaks (G3) and a hard-fought victory in the $98,000 Memories of Silver at Aqueduct.
In her last two outings, Consumer Credit finished third in the American Oaks (G1) at Santa Anita and sixth in the Belmont Oaks after breaking slow and conceding a lot of ground against 13 rivals.
The other Brown starter, Strict Compliance, ran a strong race in the Belmont Oaks despite virtually eliminating herself at the start with a sluggish break. Last of 14 and more than a dozen lengths off the lead through the first two calls, she made a very wide rally in deep stretch to dead-heat for fourth. That ended a three-race win streak, which included a half-length score in the $150,000 Penn Oaks in her stakes debut.
Tying with Strict Compliance in the Belmont Oaks was the Kiaran McLaughlin-trained Sentiero Italia, who was within five lengths of the lead early on and made up only a modest bit of ground during the 10-furlong journey. The Oaks was the Godolphin homebred's stakes debut after posting a victory in a one-mile allowance at Belmont.
Surprisingly, Heath is the filly who's come closest to Lady Eli this year. In the $200,000 Wonder Again on May 31, the 21-1 longshot tracked in second behind a dreadfully slow pace and was still around at the end when Lady Eli blew by late to win by a half-length. Heath might find herself on the lead here, with Miss Temple City and Sentiero Italia close behind.
With a small field and potentially pokey fractions, the Lake Placid could end up being a rider's race. Miss Temple City might need to rely a lot on her class to prevail.
(Miss Temple City photo: Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club)