Lake George Stakes & Curlin Stakes Odds, Field and Betting Picks

Friday afternoon at Saratoga could be a benefit session for trainer Chad Brown, who has five contenders for the feature G3 Lake George Stakes including stakes performers Liguria, Revalita and Tax Implications, pitted against the unbeaten Queen Picasso. Brown also sends Preakness runner-up Blazing Sevens for the ungraded Curlin, a short-field contest that points towards the meet highlight G1 Travers next month.

Breeders Cup Odds

Lake George Stakes

G3, $175,000, 1m turf, 3yo fillies, 5.44pm ET

The second weekend of the Saratoga meet roars into life on Friday when the Lake George headlines the afternoon, and once again the first port of call has to be last year’s meet-leader Chad Brown, who has won this race for the last four years running and saddles five contenders – half the field – as he bids to extend his streak.

Brown does not always win with his first string, as we saw last week with Whitebeam in the G1 Diana, but the sole stakes-winner among his quintet is Liguria, who was a clear-cut winner of the 2022 G3 Jimmy Durante at Del Mar at today’s distance.

She returned to the winner’s circle in a stakes over the Belmont Park mile last month, when finishing off strongly to run down barnmate Tax Implications – making her first start in eight months – and score by three-quarters of a length, and sets the standard today. Tax Implications is liable to move up for that comeback and a stakes breakthrough may not be far away.

Brown also sends out Revalita, who has been banging on the Graded-stakes door since emigrating from France, finishing ahead of Liguria when they ran two-five in the 2023 G2 Edgewood over a mile-sixteenth at Churchill Downs, and then keeping on well for third in the mile-eighth 2023 G2 Wonder Again at Belmont, appearing to appreciate the extra yardage; this cutback may be a negative.

Stakes debutantes Utilization Rate and Surge Capacity are in the same ownership as Tax Implications and both come off maiden wins, a sharp upgrade that is nothing new for Brown. Utilization Rate went gate-to-wire to score by five lengths at third-asking over a mile-sixteenth at Belmont and may be a pace angle; Surge Capacity got it right the first time at Monmouth Park over a mile-sixteenth, and inexperience could be an issue.

Away from the Brown battalion, the unbeaten Queen Picasso will be a major player. She is two-for-two, following her debut score with a comfortable victory in the 2023 G3 Soaring Softly at Belmont over seven furlongs, and although that wasn’t a great race there is ample scope for her to move up as she gains experience. Stamina is not an issue, as she won over a mile-sixteenth at Gulfstream Park on debut, with Utilization Rate back in fourth.

There should be plenty of interest in Princess Bettina, romping winner of a Santa Anita stakes over a mile in March before moving to Todd Pletcher. She was only third in a mile stakes at Penn National on her debut for the barn, but she was held up in last place there and Pletcher has mentioned a change of approach, which would see her positioned much closer to the speed, tactics that worked well out west.

Another making her stakes debut is Tryinmyheartout, who wired the field when a narrow winner of a Belmont allowance over a mile-sixteenth, but Secret Money was a big disappointment when fifth in a Woodbine sprint stakes last month and the extra yardage needs to make a huge difference if she’s to figure.

2023 Lake George Stakes Odds

Horse Betting Prediction: Chad Brown has the ammunition and there appears to be plenty of confidence behind LIGURIA, a G3 winner with the potential to move up further.

Queen Picasso (GB)Jose L. Ortiz+600
Surge CapacityJoel Rosario+600
Tax Implications (GB)Manuel Franco+500
LiguriaFlavien Prat+300
Revalita (FR)Tyler Gaffalione+500
Lil Miss MoonlightLuis Saez+3000
Utilization Rate (FR)Irad Ortiz, Jr.+450
TryinmyheartoutJohn R. Velazquez+3000
Princess BettinaDylan Davis+1200
Secret MoneyJavier Castellano+1000

Curlin Stakes

Ungraded, $135,000, 1m 1f dirt, 3yo, 2.52pm ET

Whatever the fate of Brown’s quintet in the Lake George, the trainer has an excellent chance of getting his name in lights in the supporting feature, the short-field Curlin, when he grants huge class relief to 2023 G1 Preakness runner-up Blazing Sevens.

Blazing Sevens showed excellent form as a two-year-old, winning the 2022 G1 Champagne at Aqueduct before running fourth in the 2022 G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Keeneland, in which Lost Ark played very little part and walked off the track in the stretch.

That made Blazing Sevens a leading Triple Crown contender, but he ran so poorly on his comeback in the 2023 G2 Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park that he’s been playing catch-up ever since. His Preakness performance, when he was assisted by a very slow pace at Pimlico, allowing him to reserve his speed for a final-furlong assault that fell just a head short at the wire, indicated that he was back in the game and he can build on that now.

Today’s slight cutback is a positive and he should have no problem confirming Preakness placings with Perform, who made no show and trailed in sixth of seven, beaten more than 16 lengths. Better was expected from Perform, who had made his stakes breakthrough at Laurel Park on his previous start, finishing fast for a buzzer-beating head success over ordinary rivals, and this is probably the right sort of spot for him.

Lost Ark – a half-brother to champion three-year-old filly Nest – bounced back from his BC Juvenile problem with victory on his first start of 2023, but it was only a short-field Monmouth Park allowance and he’ll need a great deal more today, although there could well be more in store.

Stakes debutant Scotland is a typical slow-burner from the Bill Mott barn, and he held on grittily to win a mile allowance at Churchill Downs by a head in a decent time. He will certainly improve – not necessarily in leaps and bounds, but possibly over time – and this is a good spot to find out more. It’s a big step up, though.

Experience is certainly not an issue for Il Miracolo, but he’s only batting two-for-11 and has never finished closer than fifth in six starts at stakes level. He may well improve on that record here but he can’t be considered as a win contender.

2023 Curlin Stakes Odds

Horse Betting Prediction  This is an excellent opportunity for G1 winner and Preakness runner-up BLAZING SEVENS to use substantial class relief to get back to the winner’s circle.

PerformJose L. Ortiz+800
Lost ArkIrad Ortiz, Jr.+400
Blazing SevensFlavien Prat-125
ScotlandJunior Alvarado+200
Il MiracoloLuis Saez+1200

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