Well Balanced Field in The Prioress

The Prioress (Grade 2)- $250.000 Purse
SAR- For Fillies Three Years Old
Six Furlongs on the Dirt
September 2, 2018

The final weekend of the Saratoga meet continues on Sunday as some of the best three year old female sprinters go to the gate for the 15th running of the Grade 2 Prioress stakes. The $250.000 purse is in line with last year’s, though many prior years saw the race go for $300.000. From 2004 until 2011, the race was held at BEL, and run as a Grade 1. It would move to the Spa in 2012, and run as a Grade 1 for two more years before being downgraded to a Grade 2. Fourteen different trainers have won the fourteen prior races, and there are a couple names not on the list that we commonly see on other stake winners lists. Temple Of The Brave got it done for Crocker Ggs last year, and she would just miss out on winning the BC Fillies and Mares Sprint later in the fall, placing second in a photo finish. She continues to run well this year. For this race, we initially had nine entered, but that is now down to eight. Let’s take a look at them!

#1- Candy Broomstick (Night Rider Stables, ridden by Ro Maragh)- Ran at the stake level early in her career, and was even seen in the Grade 1 Alcibiades last year. Results in those races were not good, and this year she has mainly run in claimers. In March, Night Rider picked her up from John Henry for $25.000, and has run her into four-horse starter allowances, earning a win and runner up. So now, she gets a chance to return to graded level. Not sure about her speed figures, but there is something about her that appeals to those who have owned her.

#2- Out Of Wedlock (D J C Racing Stables, ridden by R Bejarano)- Winner of four out of eleven in her career, but when you take out the races where she ran a mile of more, that record looks a lot better. She’s run in some top races herself, including the Grade 1 Frizette as well as the Grade 2 Mother Goose, but cuts back to sprinting here. In dirt sprints, she is 4-for-6, with each non-win being a second place run. Despite that, she’s never run at this level in a sprint. May be a long time coming for this one.

#3- Flying Squirrel (Angelos Stable, ridden by L Saez)- It may only be natural that the biggest race of Flying Squirrel’s career was the Acorn. She was third that day against some of the top females in the game. She’s had a busy, though not excessive, racing career to this point and will make 16th start, and hope for her seventh win. This is her 11th start of 2018, and when the results keep coming, why not keep putting her out there. Her signature win is either a $65.000 ungraded stake at SUN, or a $95.000 allowance right here three weeks ago. Look for her to be near the lead, if not on it, early.

#4- Covert Operation (Team 7 Illusions, ridden by D Saenz)- In six races, Covert Operation has a pair of wins and a pair of runner ups. She struggled to break her maiden the conventional way, so the trainer just said forget that, and ran her in the $150.000 Jersey Girl, and she would her first career race there. She followed that up nicely with a win in the Grade 3 Victory Ride at BEL in early July, defeating Flying Squirrel and Hipposin. Ran in the Grade 1 Test in the slop last month, and was fifth, though was within a length of victory. I like how she has stepped up when the stakes have increased, and feel the Test effort is actually a positive in disguise for her. Could be some early speed in here though, and she looks like she runs smart tactical races, so I find her an appealing option in this field.

#5- Confidently In Love (Mb Stables, ridden by J R Velazquez)- This is one of the ever shrinking number of Graded stakes that Mb Stables has not yet won. In Confidently In Love, he will have the filly with biggest resume this year. She may be most recognizable for taking on the boys in the Holy Bull earlier this season and running third. Her year so far reminds me of Good Line in that she is winless, but with a little more luck, could be having a big year. What she has not been lately, is a sprinter. We know she can get it done going long, but will the finish line come up for her before she is expecting it? Did win the Grade 1 DMR Debutante, a sprint, exactly one year ago today.

#6- Diplomatic Chaos (Winning Link Stables, ridden by F Geroux)- The Diplomatic Immunity (I’m beginning to wonder lately if he may be the most underrated sire in the game) filly was acquired by Winning Link in the March auction for $57.010, and the investment has paid off. She was four for five, including two ungraded stake wins, so that was quite a value price in the auction. In her first two starts for Winning Link, she won the Grade 3 Beaumont and Grade 2 Eight Belles. She is absolutely deadly at seven furlongs, though should adapt to the slightly shorter run here without issue.

#7- Hipposin (Our Athletes, ridden by R J Albarado)- In nine races, she has won four, been second twice, and third once. So, why doesn’t anyone want her? Within that span, she has been the subject of four private sales transactions. The most recent sale came in April when Our Athletes picked her up from Jive Inc for $130.000. She’s raced twice in those silks, with a second and third place performance, including being narrowly beaten by Covert Operation in the Grade 3 Victory Ride in her last start. She’s doing her part, so hopefully she has finally found a trainer who will let her stick around a while.

#8- Are We Dreamin- Scratched

#9- Line Drive (Our Athletes, ridden by V Espinoza)- The veteran of fourteen races is interestingly coming out of the same allowance as Flying Squirrel did three weeks ago. Line Drive was second to her that day. She’s won four races, with the biggest win this year being the Grade 3 Miss PS on a sloppy track at PIM in May. Otherwise, she has been competitive in several graded stakes which also includes the Grade 1 Ashland. Her two year old season was also strong, with a win in the Grade 1 Matron, which allowed her to run in the BC Juvenile Fillies. Expect her to be in the mix.

Prediction: 4-2-6-5

— NS

Categories: Grade II, STAKES ARTICLES

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