The Prioress (Grade 2)- $250.000 Purse
SAR- For Fillies Three Years Old
Six Furlongs on the Dirt
September 3, 2017
A strong field is in place for the 14th running of the Prioress, a Grade 2 event held at beautiful Saratoga Race Course. It is six furlongs on the main track for three year old fillies, and a big stepping stone for the BC Fillies and Mares Sprint. BC weekend just seems to get closer and closer, and all of these fillies have been very successful up to this point, and they would all like to be heading to DMR in two months. First things first, we need a winner to separate herself from a good field here in the Prioress. It’s a field that has four of its seven runners having won at least half of their career starts, with a fifth just missing the cutoff for being included in that as well. Combined, the field has made 71 starts, and has 35 wins between them, so essentially half are wins. These fillies know how to get the job done, and it should make for an entertaining race. Enjoy it! Here are our runners!
#1- Fuego Kruzin (Ekli Stable, ridden by R J Albarado)- On the rail, this filly is a winner of five of ten races overall, with an even more impressive four out of six clip going in 2017. She’s also hot lately, with wins in her last three starts. Until her last start, you may have been able to say she hasn’t taken on the strongest of competition in comparison to what she faces here, but her win in the Grade 3 Bernardo Handicap at DMR three weeks ago does give us confidence that she is able to step up her game to the increased level of competition. Great test for her!
#2- Canadian Folk (Team 7 Illusions, ridden by J J Castellano)- Also enters this race on a winning streak, with four consecutive victories, and has overall won seven out of ten career races. Clearly then, we know that she has all the tools to have success here. She was purchased by Team 7 Illusions in private sales in late April for $100.000, and won all three times for the new trainer. Interesting, not only were all of those races on the turf, but they were on soft turf. She’s been successful on both surfaces, rain or not, so I’m not worried about her on the main track.
#3- Toleration (Mb Stables, ridden by J R Velazquez)- This filly got off to a quick start in her career, and ended up being part of the BC Juvenile Fillies last year. That did not go according to plan for her, but she bounced back without any problems in her next start, and went on to take part in a few KYO prep races this year. A second place run in the Grade 3 Fantasy at OP (missing by a length to the great Queenwood) showed she had great promise, and it may have only been because of entry limits imposed on the trainer that she did not run in the KYO. Earlier in the meet, she ran third in the CCA Oaks. Now, after all that, she is going to cut back her distance to sprinting, something she did have success with earlier this year.
#4- Darling Smile (Mb Stables, ridden by J R Leparoux)- The Chai Latte filly has won six of ten career starts with earnings just a tad over $500.000. A lot of that did come last year, and very early this year. Back in February, she was victorious in the Grade 2 Forward Gal, and she will also boast a couple of ON-bred wins to her credit as well. However, the momentum died off a bit after a disappointing run in the Grade 2 Alexandra, a race at over a mile. The trainer hoped she’d bounce back right away, but did not in a couple of optional claiming sprint races, but did break through in her last attempt here a month ago.
#5- Temple Of The Brave (Croacker Ggs, ridden by D Moran)- A winner of five out of twelve overall, Temple Of The Brave has won half of her six career starts in 2017, thanks to a three race winning streak earlier in the year. That run began in the $75.000 Any Limit, where Fuego Kruzin was one of the ones that she defeated. Next up, she won the ON-bred Ballade Stakes, and then she took the Grade 3 Chicago Handicap with a 100 SRF in the process. Her last start was here in the Honorable Miss, and she did run honorably, but did not hit the board. She’ll have a great shot here.
#6- French Connection (D J C Racing Stables, ridden by I Ortiz Jr)- While her career did get off to a quick start, French Connection’s recent stretch of just one win in her last ten starts does seem a little less impressive when compared to others in the field. Putting that aside, however, a lot of those non-wins come in prep races for the KYO, and then the actual Oaks itself, plus the Acorn. So she has been racing at a higher level a little more consistently then others in here, and that one win she did get was the Grade 2 FG Oaks. When sprinting on a dry track, French Connection is a perfect three-for-three. Although they were the first three races of her career. I am very interested in seeing how she fares here.
#7- Crazy Charge (Mcl Stables, ridden by J L Oritz)- So far in her lightly raced career, Crazy Charge has always been a part of the exacta with three wins and two places in her five career starts. She has only raced in a stake once, taking the $150.000 Jersey Girl against three others at BEL, but the most relevant race to look at would be her last start, in which she ran second in an optional claiming event. The winner of that race was Darling Smile, and she showed that she could race within a length of her, so just a little more luck, and it may have been hers. That said, Darling Smile isn’t the favorite in here, either. This is an excellent test and hugely pivotal race for her to see where she goes from here.