Grade 1 victories are especially coveted in horse racing and seven three-year-old fillies will vie to score their first one in the six furlongs Prioress Stakes from Saratoga on Saturday. Notable winners include ’89 victor Safely Kept and ’08 champ Indian Blessing.
#1 Emma’s Encore (Congrats x French Opera by Wild Again) 4-1: Things couldn’t have set up any better for her last out in the Grade 3 Victory Ride Stakes where she rallied for a 2 ¾ lengths win at odds of 39-1. A torrid pace did it for her and she might get one again. She certainly has come a long way for a filly that was offered for a $50k tag in February. It’s worth noting that she is 3 for 3 at the six furlong distance of this event. Allen Jerkens trains and Junior Alvarado retains the ride.
#2 Livi Makenzie (Macho Uno x Greta’s Joy by Joyeux Danseur) 20-1: $5,500 yearling purchase has won twice from nine career starts. Those wins came in a maiden race and optional claiming race. Her tries in stakes company have come up short. She’s going to have to step way up to be competitive for trainer Ron Moquett and jockey David Cohen.
#3 Jamaican Smoke (Latent Heat x Great Deep Bay by Mr. Greeley) 3-1: She took the worst of it on the front of the Victory Ride Stakes where she put away the undefeated Agave Kiss before falling 2 ¾ lengths short in second. Jockey JJ Castellano put a good ride on her, but has lost the mount to Jose Lezcano. She should be trading punches on the lead once again with Agave Kiss and once again it will lead to mutually assured destruction.
#4 Tu Endie Wei (Johar x Ms. Cornstalk by Indian Charlie) 6-1: Ended up third in the Victory Ride, a race that was her first try on a dirt track. Not a bad effort at all especially if you believe Reade Baker who said she exited the race with some mucus. Throw in a stumble at the start and it may have been the best race of her career. Julien Leparoux should have her in a good spot again and if he can avoid trouble she might be the horse to beat at a good price.
#5 Judy The Beauty (Ghostzapper x Holy Blitz by Holy Bull) 6-1: Inexperienced lass was second in last year’s Grade 1 Spinster Stakes behind Grace Hall. She has three wins from five starts to go with two runner up efforts. Trainer Wes Ward has enlisted jockey Joel Rosario to ride. A :59 1/5 five furlong bullet over the track on July 15 tells us she is plenty fit. Look for a big effort.
#6 Agave Kiss (Lion Heart x Salty Romance by Salt Lake) 8-5: The once vaunted undefeated filly came back to Earth after being forced to go too fast from the rail last out in the Victory Ride. If the filly that did her in, Jamaican Smoke, is intent on the lead once again, then both fillies are doomed. Neither is good enough to set ridiculous fractions and keep going. On the other hand, if Ramon Dominguez can get her to relax then she becomes a deadly force. Either way, she isn’t worth the risk at such a short price. Rudy Rodriguez is the trainer.
#7 Jazzy Idea (Great Notion x Jazz Band by Dixieland Band) 12-1: Trainer Edwin Merryman got this filly to win an overnight stakes race on turf, a surface she appears to be better on. Last out she finished second in an overnight stakes race going seven panels on dirt at Charles Town. She has made the exacta 10 times from 12 career starts. As a strong closer she has to be considered a win candidate based on the projected pace. John Velazquez gets the call to ride.
We will tab Tu Endie Wei as our top selection. It looks like she could be sitting on the best effort of her life as she goes to dirt for the second time. If she can avoid trouble then she will be a handful for jockey Julien Leparoux.