Saturday, July 19, 2014

Sweet victory for Somali Lemonade in G1 TVG Diana

The New York Racing Association, Inc.

Saturday, July 19, 2014


Sweet victory for Somali Lemonade in G1 TVG Diana


By Phil Janack


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Already a multiple Grade 3 winner, Somali Lemonade rallied from off the pace to capture her first Grade 1 in the $500,000 TVG Diana on Saturday at Saratoga Race Course.


The 5-year-old Lemon Drop Kid mare sat behind leaders Discreet Marq and favored Alterite before unleashing her run down the middle of the track in the final furlong to hit the wire a neck in front of fast-closing Stephanie's Kitten.


Under jockey Luis Saez. Somali Lemonade ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.51 on a firm inner turf course for her third win in five starts this year. Both of her previous victories had come in front-running fashion, and she was a narrow third in the Grade 1 Just a Game on June 7 after employing a similar style.


"I said I didn't think she needed to be on the lead," said trainer Michael Matz. "She's won on the lead, she's won from behind. I think she's just a good filly. It was a pretty tough group that she ran against today."


Breaking from post 3, Somali Lemonade settled in ahead of a headstrong Tannery and behind Alterite and Discreet Marq, who battled through a quarter mile in 24.37 seconds and a half in 49.94. They were still in front through six furlongs in 1:13.96 before Saez angled Somali Lemonade to the center of the course to launch their bid.


"I don't know if it was the blinkers, I don't know if it was maturity, but she's doing really well right now," Matz said. "I was glad somebody was putting some pressure on Discreet Marq. I was a little surprised Tannery was up that close, but I guess things happen. That's why they call it horse racing."


Sent off at 11-1, Somali Lemonade returned $24.60 for a $2 win bet, and the $300,000 winner's share of the purse boosted her career earnings to $948,421 in 22 lifetime starts.


"She's just a good filly. I don't know what else to say about her," Matz said. "She's better now at 5 than she was her whole life."


Runner-up Stephanie's Kitten was a neck ahead of Discreet Marq. Abaco was another length behind, followed under the wire by Solid Appeal, Strathnaver, Caroline Thomas, Alterite, Emollient and Tannery.




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