The G2 Prioress Stakes will be contested this Sunday, September 2 at Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, New York. A purse of $250,000 will be up for grabs when three year old fillies take to Saratoga's dirt track and dash six furlongs.
|Anthony Margotta, Jr.
||Irad Ortiz, Jr.
||Ricardo Santana, Jr.
||Brian Hernandez, Jr.
||Win the War
Phoenix Thoroughbred's Dream Tree will look to stay undefeated and register her third graded stakes win in as many starts.
Dream Tree is 4-for-4, winning at distances ranging from six furlongs to one mile. The Uncle Mo filly will take aim at the Prioress distance of six furlongs for the first time since winning her debut on October 27 at Santa Anita.
The Bob Baffert trainee will be coming off a nearly seven-month layoff after being taken off the Kentucky Oaks trail with what her conditioner at the time described as a minor, unspecified issue. Dream Tree will be making her first start since posting a 3 ¾-length win in the Grade 2 Las Virgenes at one mile on February 4 at Santa Anita.
Dream Tree, who was purchased for $750,000, concluded her juvenile campaign with a 3 ¼-length win over Yesterday's News in the Grade 1 Starlet in December at Los Alamitos at 1 1/16 miles. She will now make her Spa debut, drawing post 8 with Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith aboard.
Staying with the slumber theme, Stonestreet Stables' Dream Pauline is also looking to remain unbeaten after posting back-to-back wins to start her career. The Tapit filly won her first race, recording a six-length score on December 3 at Aqueduct Racetrack going six furlongs. She returned for the start of her 3-year-old campaign, winning over the same distance on August 2 at Saratoga.
"She's doing very well and ran huge last race, she's very fit and doing great," McLaughlin said. "She has a great pedigree and a great mind; she's a really nice filly and we're very excited about her. It's a big step up from an allowance race to a graded stakes, but we feel she's a graded stakes filly."
McLaughlin said Dream Pauline could be stretched out going forward, but was content keeping her at six furlongs for now. The long layoff between starts, which saw her have a stint in Florida, has also helped to keep her fresh, McLaughlin said.
"We just felt like she needed a little bit of time and sent her down to Ocala and gave her 45 days off; she came back great and everything has been going well since," he said.
Dream Pauline initially stayed off the pace in both of her starts before a strong closing kick; a style McLaughlin said he would like to see continue as she steps up in class. Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano, who rode in her last start, will have the return call from post 5.
"We'd like [to see] her stalking second, third or fourth off a fast pace, just like last time," McLaughlin said. "She seems to be pretty professional. Javier knows her now and understands her, so hopefully, that'll be perfect."
Mia Mischief came within a neck of Separationofpowers in the Grade 1 Test on August 4 at Saratoga at seven furlongs. She returns to the same track less than a month later looking to notch her second graded stakes win, adding to her win in the seven-furlong Grade 2 8 Belles May 4 at Churchill.
Just once in nine career starts has Mia Mischief failed to finish on the board, with a fifth-place effort in the Grade 3 Victory Ride on July 8 at Belmont leading into a strong bounce-back effort in the Test, where she dueled with Separationofpowers, bumping multiple times, before earning runner-up status in her first Grade 1 appearance.
From post 4, Ricardo Santana, Jr. will ride Mia Mischief, who is trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen.
Moonshine Memories will return to stakes competition after an allowance win on July 19 at Del Mar. The victory followed a fourth-place finish in the Grade 1 Acorn on June 9, Belmont Stakes Day, where she briefly held the lead a half-mile in before tiring late in a race won by leading division contender Monomoy Girl.
The Simon Callaghan trainee registered back-to-back Grade 1 wins as a 2-year-old, winning the 1 Del Mar Debutante and the Chandelier in September 2017 before running seventh in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies in November at Del Mar.
Joel Rosario will have the call from post 7.
Bronx Beauty, a winner of five of her six starts for trainer Anthony Margotta, Jr., will make her first graded stakes start, drawing the rail with Hall of Famer John Velazquez riding.
Bronx Beauty enters her first Saratoga appearance with three straight stakes wins, including a two-length win in the New Start on June 2 at Penn National in her seasonal bow and a win by a head over Dixie Serenade in the Jose L. Flores on August 4 at Parx Racing.
Classy Act is looking to rebound from a seventh-place finish in the Grade 1 Test when she competes against nine challengers in the Grade 2, $250,000 Prioress Sunday at Saratoga Race Course.
Carl Moore's Classy Act dueled at the front with fellow Prioress contender Mia Mischief in the seven-furlong Test on August 4, setting the speed through the opening quarter-mile and staying just one-length off Mia Mischief a half-mile in. But trainer Bret Calhoun said Separationofpowers' wide move nearing the turn might have caught Classy Act, who wears blinkers, off guard.
"It was kind of a strange race. It's one you draw a line through," Calhoun said. "It looked like she was in total control of the race and that horse [Separationofpowers] went way wide and I think she [Classy Act] didn't feel anything and then got spooked. She just put on the brakes. She came back like she had never run a race and was bucking and squealing."
Since then, Calhoun said Classy Act has continued to train well at Saratoga, including a four-furlong breeze in 50.99 seconds on the Oklahoma training track on Tuesday.
"She's been razor-sharp since then and training great," Calhoun said. "It [the Test] was a big disappointment because going into that race, I felt positive. The way she was going early in that race, it looked like she was in control. But she got spooked, but that's like her; that's why we have the blinkers on her. It keeps her more focused. If she feels the horses and sees them, she's fine.
"She's done well since that time. Looking at her, this is probably the best she's been," he added. "I've never been able to get her coat like I wanted and now, for the first time, she's been able to pop some dapples. She has high energy coming into the race. I think it's hard to run twice here - two hard races - but she ran and got experience here and it didn't take too much out of her."
The Into Mischief filly had success earlier this year on the Kentucky Oaks trail, finishing second to 3-year-old filly division leader Monomoy Girl in the Grade 2 Rachel Alexandra on February 17 at Fair Grounds. After running 10th in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks at 1 1/8 miles on May 4 at Churchill Downs, Classy Act defeated optional claimers at seven furlongs and returned to stakes company to run second behind Dixie Serenade in the Grade 3 Victory Ride at 6 ½ furlongs on July 8 at Belmont Park.
Now racing at the Prioress distance of six furlongs on what is expected to be a fast main track, Classy Act drew post 6 and is 12-1 on the morning line. Dream Tree, the 3-1 favorite trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, will break from post 8 and Mia Mischief, at 5-2, will be on Classy Act's inside from post 4.
"I think we drew well, it gives us some options," Calhoun said. "She's a fast filly, but I've always thought that having a bit of a target has always helped her. You have Mia Mischief on the inside. Last time, they sat off of it on the inside. This time, they may be forced to go a little bit. If they go, we might find ourselves sitting off of them, which would be fine."
Classy Act will be running at six furlongs for the first time since her runner-up debut effort in September 2017 at Churchill.
"It's a great distance for us; she's fast enough. It's not like your waiting around. They're going to be rolling," Calhoun said.
Finley'sluckycharm came out of her seventh-place finish in the Grade 1 Ketel One Ballerina on Travers Day in good order and remains on target for the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint on November 3 at Churchill, Calhoun said.
After winning the Grade 2 Honorable Miss Handicap at the start of the Saratoga meet on July 25, Calhoun said he wasn't surprised the 5-year-old Twirling Candy mare struggled coming back to run against top caliber competition in a short time, but viewed the Ballerina as a way to keep her on track to challenge in the Breeders' Cup on full rest.
"She's shown as a 5-year-old that she can't bounce back from those huge efforts in four weeks time. Going in, she just didn't have the energy level that I thought she needed," Calhoun said. "It was hard to get a read on her, because she's not really fond of the heat and humidity, and it's been like that most of the time up here. It cooled off a little and her energy level picked up. But it was a tough spot. If I didn't run there, it would have been a huge gap between there and the Breeders' Cup. This way, I get 10 weeks, and she's responded well [to that time off]. If everything goes smooth, I think we'll have a really good [chance] in the Breeders' Cup."
Rounding out the field is Sower, third in the Victory Ride, for trainer Linda Rice from post 3; Win the War, winner of the Duchess on August 11 at Woodbine for trainer Mark Casse, out of post 9; Purfect Miss, looking to earn stakes blacktype for the first time for trainer Jeremiah Englehart, out of post 10; and Cathedral Reader, making her first stakes start for trainer Dallas Stewart, breaking from post 2.