A trio of fillies who have registered runner-up finishes in recent Grade 1 races in New York will try to finish atop the $300,000 Prioress Stakes Aug. 30 at Saratoga Race Course.
The Grade 1-placed trio includes Miss Behaviour, who enters off a runner-up finish to Sweet Reason in the Test Stakes Aug. 2 at Saratoga; TVG Acorn Stakes runner-up Sweet Whiskey, who also finished behind Sweet Reason; and Princess Violet, who makes her first start since finishing 9 ¼ lengths behind Untapable in the Mother Goose Stakes June 28 at Belmont Park.
Carl MacWilliam and Neil Teitelbaum's Miss Behaviour will cut back to six furlongs after her impressive effort in the seven-furlong Test. The daughter of Jump Start boasts three stakes wins, including a score in last year's Matron Stakes at Belmont Park.
Miss Behaviour battled through the stretch of the Test before coming up one-length short to the winner. Trainer Phil Schoenthal, who saddled a horse at Saratoga for the first time in Miss Behaviour's Test start, believes his filly is better suited to the Prioress distance at which she's unbeaten in three starts.
PRIORESS STAKES DRAW
"Winning any race at Saratoga would be the thrill of a lifetime, whether it be a stakes race or a graded stakes race," said Schoenthal. "I think clearly everybody feels six furlongs is better for her than seven. She's undefeated at six and has never won past the distance."
Schoenthal said he will allow jockey Javier Castellano, who won a pair of Grade 1 races Aug. 23 at Saratoga , to determine race strategy in the expected field of eight 3-year-old fillies.
"There's a reason he's an Eclipse Award winner," said Schoenthal. "You have to trust the rider to do what's best. I believe she can be on the lead in front of any horse in the country, but whether that's the prudent move or not, I don't know. He'll have all the speed that he wants, so if no one wants to take the lead he can waltz on up there. She's a versatile horse, though. Whatever he wants her to do, she can do."
Todd Pletcher, well on his way to another Saratoga training title, will send out Sweet Whiskey. Alto Racing's Old Fashioned filly was fifth, beaten 1 ½ lengths in the Test, after finishing second, beaten a half-length, by Sweet Reason in the Acorn. Sweet Whiskey has not run at six furlongs since she took the Old Hat Stakes by 2 ¾ lengths Jan. 4 at Gulfstream Park.
Breaking from the outside will be Barry Schwartz homebred Princess Violet. She registered back-to-back wins in races for New York-breds this year at Aqueduct Racetrack and Belmont before the Officer filly ran second to Untapable in the Mother Goose.
Others in the field are Grade 2 winners Stonetastic and Who's in Town, Grade 3 winner Southern Honey, and listed stakes winner Tea Time.