SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – First Row Partners and Parkland Thoroughbreds’ Royal Charlotte bounced back from her first career loss to outkick her foes in Saturday’s $250,000 Prioress Stakes (G2) at Saratoga.
Breaking from post 5 under Javier Castellano at 9/2 odds, Royal Charlotte settled slightly off the pace while the 3/5 favorite Break Even posted uncontested opening fractions of :21.87 and :44.76. Racing directly behind the pacesetter at the top of the stretch, Castellano waited until the final furlong before tipping her out.
Given clear running room, Royal Charlotte swept past the bettors’ choice and kicked clear with ease. Hand-ridden late, the Chad Brown trainee completed the 6-furlong sprint over the fast main track in a final time of 1:09.45.
“I like the way she did it today,” Castellano said. “The pace was hot and I had Break Even as a target every single step of the way. I tipped her outside and she finished strong. The way the race developed was great. It was a small field and they all grouped up together and we sat behind them and it paid off today.”
Despite being distanced by 1 1/2 lengths in the end, Break Even ran strongly enough to finish 2 1/2 lengths ahead in second. Risky Mandate got past Break Curfew late to take third by a neck, while Kept True was never involved before completing the order of finish. South of France was scratched.
Royal Charlotte’s win was her fifth in six career starts, with her lone defeat coming last out in the Test Stakes (G1) here on August 3. The 3-year-old daughter of Cairo Prince has now earned $346,900 and will likely point to the Raven Run Stakes (G2) at Keeneland on October 19.
“She didn’t do any running in the Test, but she wasn’t handling the track that day,” said Brown. “I just had noticed that the past couple of weeks the track has changed in the morning, and I think it might just be the climate. But for whatever reason, the track has been playing differently in the morning and I didn’t have anywhere else to run her. I was just going to point her to Keeneland and freshen her. She had a couple of easy breezes and went fine, but I saw a completely different track, so we took a shot. She looks like she’s a much different horse going 6 or 6 1/2 (furlongs), and Javier really rode a patient race and the pace helped us.”
Royal Charlotte returned $11 to win and $3.30 to place, while Break Even brought back $2.40 to place. There was no show betting.