SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Briefly overtaken by Dearest turning for home, 22-1 shot Lucy N Ethel battled back along the inside to prevail by a half-length on Sunday in the 69th running of the Grade 2, $300,000 Prioress for 3-year-old fillies at Saratoga Race Course.
Sent straight to the front by jockey Jose Lezcano, Lucy N Ethel zipped through an opening quarter-mile in 22.05 seconds, with the half going in 44.96, before being confronted by Dearest to her outside at the quarter-pole. The dark bay daughter of During dug in along the rail once straightened for home and promptly snatched back the lead, going on to complete the six furlongs in 1:09.33 and run her record to 4-for-4.
“She’s a very nice filly,” said Lezcano, who was aboard for the first time. “The trainer [Chloe Bradley] told me to take her away from the pony and warm her up pretty good, let her break and go to the lead. Everything went as planned. She broke well and I got good position in front and she did it easy. I felt I had enough horse in the stretch. She came in prepared for this race today.”
The victory was the second graded stakes score for the Pennsylvania-bred, who won both starts as a 2-year-old at Parx Racing. She launched her sophomore campaign with a front-running score in the Grade 3 Old Hat in January at Gulfstream Park, after which she had a chip removed from her knee and was given time off.
“We knew she was training brilliantly against some very nice horses, so we really thought we had a shot at this,” said Steve Perry of J. A. G. Racing, which co-owns Lucy N Ethel with Jettany Thoroughbred. “It’s one of the last 3-year-old races that there are in the country for fillies, so it was our plan all along. We had just hoped we had a race to enter her in before this.
“She’s good enough for this, obviously,” he added. “We were hoping to run good, maybe hit the board or possibly do what we did. We were pretty confident but it’s hard, this was a lovely group of horses. These are some of the best in the world as far as sprinters go.”
Lucy N Ethel returned $47.40 for a $2 win wager, and more than doubled her career earnings to $306,420.
Takrees was 2 ¾ lengths back in third, with favored Off the Tracks checking in a neck behind in fourth. Completing the order of finish were Kareena, Coniah, One True Kiss, Lost Raven, Coppa and Appealing Maggie.
Lucy N Ethel’s victory was the fourth of five double-digit payoffs in Sunday’s Pick 6, which included Refer ($13.60) in Race 7, For Honor ($49) in Race 8, and Angry Moon ($33.60) in Race 9, and triggered a mandatory payout of $75,371 for Monday’s closing day card.
Chad Brown clinches title, sets Saratoga Race Course meet record for wins
Mexican Gold’s victory in Race 10 on Sunday at Saratoga Race Course marked trainer Chad Brown’s 39th win of the meet, breaking a record that had stood for five years.
Brown, who surpassed Todd Pletcher’s previous record of 38 set in 2011, also clinched his first Saratoga training title Sunday afternoon.
The 39-year-old native of nearby Mechanicville, New York had finished second to Pletcher in the standings for the H. Allen Jerkens training title at the Spa for the past five years.
“It really feels like a dream come true,” said Brown, the leading trainer on the New York Racing Association circuit in 2015. “I’m really just like the lead singer of a band; the people behind me make the music. I’m here right now giving the interview but I have 150 employees and every single one of them I find to be highly skilled and highly dependable in working as a team. I have several employees who do things that I can’t do and I do some things they can’t do. But we all pitch in and do our job and this is truly a team effort. I’m just a lucky guy to be able to wake up and go to the barn and have them working with me.”
Brown said registering his 1,000th career victory at Saratoga on August 24 was a special highlight for him.
“I’d have to go with the 1,000th win because this is all where it came about for me,” he said. “Right here in the picnic area at Saratoga, that’s where horse racing first captured me and changed my whole life; my outlook on life and what I wanted to do with my life. From that point forward it’s been a way of life and not just a job. For me to reach this success with my team right here at my home track at the very place that changed my career ambitions it’s just a dream come true.”
Among the other highlights of Brown’s Saratoga meet were Flintshire’s win in the Grade 1 Longines Sword Dancer, Dacita’s victory in the Grade 1 Diana, Camelot Kitten’s win in the Grade 2 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame, Ancient Secret’s victory in the Grade 2 Lake George and Guapaza’s win in the Grade 3 Fasig-Tipton Waya.
Brown has won six of the 11 graded stakes run on flat turf courses this meet.