Martin Schwartz has made millions as a day trader on Wall Street, so stress is no stranger. Yet when one of his thoroughbreds is involved in a tight finish, he gets as nervous as a horseplayer pleading for a Pick 4 score.
Fifteen minutes after his 3-year-old filly Samitar held off 5-1 shot Somali Lemonade by a head in the Grade I Garden City Stakes, Schwartz still was frazzled. A 4-5 favorite isn't supposed to make you sweat like that. Samitar had a half-length lead at the sixteenth pole, but Somali Lemonade kept coming.
"My heart's beating hard,'' Schwartz, 67, said Saturday at Belmont Park after accepting the trophy from Garden City Mayor Don Brudie. "That was tougher than I thought it was going to be. I'm very happy, but a little more drained than I expected.''
It was Samitar's second start in the U.S. and her first for Chad Brown since leaving Mick Channon's stable in England. She was third by a neck July 25 in the Grade II Lake George at Saratoga. "Ramon [Dominguez] rode her perfectly today,'' Brown said. "She came to me in good shape, and she had been training great. I was happy to see her get 1 1/8 miles. That was my one reservation.''
Samitar was timed in 1:48.54 and earned $180,000 for her fourth win in 12 starts. Schwartz's wife, Audrey, led her into the winner's circle, where their daughter, Stacy, and son, Parker, also waited. Thirty minutes before, Schwartz thought his family, Brown and Dominguez would be there with 3-2 favorite Dealbata, but a rally left her second, 1½ lengths behind 13-1 Naples Bay, in the Grade III Noble Damsel Stakes.
Brown, 33, has become a star since leaving Bobby Frankel and going out on his own in 2007. For the second straight year, Brown was second to Todd Pletcher at Saratoga. Schwartz, a demanding boss, is a big fan.
"Chad is incredible the way he can acclimate European horses so quickly,'' Schwartz said. "Some trainers it takes them three to six months. Last year he got Stacelita, and six weeks later she won the [Grade I] Beverly D. for us. He learned his lessons very well from a great trainer.''
No 'Crown' for Camelot. For the first time since Nijinsky in 1970, there was a chance for an English Triple Crown. But just like the 12 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winners who failed since Affirmed ran the table in 1978, Camelot came up short. The undefeated 2-5 favorite finished second, three-quarters of a length behind 25-1 Encke, in the mile and 6½-furlong classic at Doncaster. Camelot was the first 2,000 Guineas and Epsom Derby champion to go for the sweep since Nijinsky.
Making the loss more bitter for trainer Aidan O'Brien and the Coolmore group is that archrival Sheikh Mohammed al Maktoum of Dubai owns Encke. O'Brien blamed a slow pace for the defeat of his son Joseph's mount, and second-guessed himself for not entering a rabbit.