- The Prioress, a Grade 1 six furlong sprint for three-year old fillies, has drawn a competitive field of nine on what should finally be a beautiful weather weekend day at Belmont. On the undercard is the Missy Mirage stakes for older fillies and mares, and Yolanda B. Too makes her second start since a successful return from getting buried in the Distaff – similar to what Nothing But Fun did. In fact, a look back at the Distaff shows that six horses in total – Stellar Jayne, Capeside Lady, Happy Ticket and Healthy Addiction (who was beaten by 57 lengths on Breeders Cup day) were the other four (the last three also after layoffs) – came back to win their next race. Ironically, the top three Distaff finishers – Pleasant Home, Ashado, and Society Selection – all ran their last race that day.
So I guess it was a pretty key race. Hollywood Story was in the field too, and the only filly who showed poor form afterwards was In the Gold. So I like Yolanda B. Too here; and perhaps Pletcher’s returnee Bohemian Lady will get some attention in the mutuel pools. It’s always a risk betting against the trainer in these situations, but her two big stakes wins over the winter on the inner track were accomplished against three middling opponents each time.
As for the Prioress, it’s a wide-open affair that virtually any of the nine fillies could win. Diplomat Lady is the sole Grade 1 winner in the field, but that came over a distance of ground in the Hollywood Starlet, in which she defeated Balance. She also has some of the lowest Beyers in the field. Capote’s Crown may be the favorite, as she comes off two romps at a Belmont track which she obviously loves. As Dave Litfin points out in the Form, this half-sister to sprint champ Smoke Glacken shows improving Beyers in each of her four Belmont starts. And she’s trained by the red-hot Kiaran McLaughlin. Kent Desormeaux has been on board for those last two, and he said "I love her.....She's trained to the minute right now and Kiaran's got her seeing fire." [Thoroughbred Times]
Livermore Valley (Mt. Livermore) is an interesting entrant for James Ryerson. She has shown an almost-uninterrupted string of improving Beyers for her career, and she comes off two wins out-of-town, most recently in the Dearly Precious at Monmouth, in which she defeated three decent rivals, including Sensation and Gleaming Elegance. She’s never been worse than third in her eight lifetime starts. During the winter, however, she was unable to handle Silvestris (Forest Wildcat), who starts from the rail here for Darley and Tom Albertrani. She returned to the races with an easy four length allowance win and a lifetime best Beyer.
Misty Rosette (Stormin Fever) is another interesting shipper here; she won her first three races at Gulfstream, going straight from maiden to stakes, including a four length win in the G3 Old Hat on that sloppy Hutcheson-day card. Her last was a third in the seven furlong Forward Gal in March. She shows some bullet works, and should benefit from the turnback to six furlongs. She’s a half-sister to Storm Wolf, who took the G2 Laz Barrera Memorial at seven furlongs last year.
- NYRA's website includes some interesting blurbs on its stakes races, regarding both the horses that some are named after, and the history of the race itself. Here's what they have to say about the Prioress:
The PRIORESS was named for the first American Thoroughbred ever to win in England. Prioress was bought by Ten Braek from General Wells as a three year old in 1857 for $2,500. She was then sent to England where she won both the Great Yorkshire Stakes and the Cesare Witch Handicap in 1858. In the latter, Prioress finished in a triple dead heat with El Hakim and Queen Bess; she then won the run off.- And speaking of the distaff set, Ouija Board returns tomorrow in the Coral-Eclipse Stakes at Sandown, where she will face David Junior, 4th to Ouija Board in last month's Prince of Wales. She'll have to overcome some recent precedent in order to win.
The PRIORESS was run at Jamaica prior to l960. Run in two divisions in l95l and l958. In 1966, Priceless Gem finished first but was disqualified and placed last. Run at Aqueduct from 1960 to 1986. [NYRA]
With only two mares successful in the last 20 years, only two winning favourites since Nashwan in 1989 and the last five winners of the Prince of Wales's Stakes all beaten in the race, history is against Ouija Board in tomorrow's Coral-Eclipse Stakes. [Guardian UK]Despite all that, don't expect to see 8-1 on her this time! David Junior's trainer Brian Meehan hardly sounds intimidated.
"Ouija Board is an exceptional mare, she's wonderful, she's a legend.....and there was no disgrace in finishing fourth to her. But we will take her on again. We're not going to run and hide just because we got beat." [Independent Online]