Lansdon B. Robbins III's homebred LE MI GEAUX (First Samurai) had a bumpy start in Friday's $100,000 Schuylerville S. (G3) on Saratoga's opening day, settled near the rear, then came with a game run in the stretch to overtake longtime leader Stopspendingmaria (Montbrook) and score by 1 1/2 lengths. The chestnut miss was sent off the 9-1 fourth choice in the six-filly field and paid $20.20, $7.70 and $3.60 to her backers.
"That was a pleasant surprise," trainer Richard Dutrow said. "I have to give all the credit to the owner because he was the one who wanted to run her here. I thought she was in too tough. I thought the wet track might help us, but that was only a hope. I'm sure Mr. Robbins will want to go to the (September 5) Spinaway (G1)."
Stopspendingmaria headed straight for the front from her rail post when the gates opened, but found plenty of company to her outside. Let's Get Fiscal (Bandini), Show Me the Bling (Too Much Bling) and Spa Sunrise (Eddington) lined up four wide across the track midway on the backstretch through the opening quarter in :21 4/5, but Spa Sunrise couldn't keep pace and began backing up. Show Me the Bling also took herself out the pace battle, leaving Stopspendingmaria and Let's Get Fiscal to duel through a half in :45 4/5.
All the while, Le Mi Geaux was biding her time in back of the field. She came wide rounding the turn and set her sights on Stopspendingmaria, who had finally shook loose from Let's Get Fiscal. Unfortunately, the dark bay miss had nothing left to withstand the rally of Le Mi Geaux, who completed six furlongs on the sloppy, sealed, dirt in 1:13 3/5.
"We were supposed to be really close to the lead, like she did last time, but she didn't break as sharp and there was a lot of speed, so we had to sit behind the leaders," jockey Frederic Lenclud explained. "I thought she really did something good today because it's hard to come back on the mud and she really finished strong down the lane."
Stopspendingmaria was the 2-1 favorite in the Schuylerville and returned $4.50 and $2.90 while ending the $71.50 exacta.
"It was a tough post position on a tough track," trainer Todd Pletcher admitted. "We were kind of committed to go, and several other guys with outside posts were committed to go. You win the battle and lost the war sometimes."
Show Me the Bling came back on in the stretch, but suddenly ducked in nearing the sixteenth pole and lost her momentum. The gray lass weakened to finish 2 3/4 lengths behind second while holding third by 6 1/2 lengths over Let's Get Fiscal. She gave back $2.90 at 5-2 and completed the $276 trifecta (3-2-6).
"Green as the grass!" stated Patrick Biancone, Show Me the Bling's conditioner. "She'll improve off that. We'll be all right."
Dos Lunas (Hennessy) and Spa Sunrise followed the top four under the wire after Final Mesa (Sky Mesa) was withdrawn.
Le Mi Geaux opened her career with a third-place run at Churchill Downs on May 14, and stayed at the Louisville, Kentucky, venue to break her maiden by 7 1/4 lengths under the Twin Spires last out on June 20. The Kentucky-bred lass has now accumulated $95,700 in earnings to go along with a 3-2-0-1 career mark.
Le Mi Geaux, who was an $80,000 RNA at the Fasig-Tipton Calder Sale earlier this season, is out of stakes winner Message Red (Cryptoclearance) and has an unnamed yearling full brother. The juvenile filly's third dam is a half-sister to Palm Hut (Jungle Savage), who put together the Schuylerville-Spinaway double in 1978.