by Brian Bohl
Phoenix Thoroughbred's Dream Tree will look to stay undefeated and register her third graded stakes win in as many starts as part of a 10-horse field of 3-year-old fillies in the Grade 2, $250,000 Prioress on Sunday at Saratoga Race Course.
Carded as Race 10, the 71st running of the Prioress will be shown on Saratoga Live, presented by Claiborne Farm, airing nationally on FS2 from 3-6:30 p.m. ET. Regional coverage of Sunday's Saratoga Live can be found on MSG+, FOX Sports Prime Ticket and Altitude from 4-6:30 p.m.
Dream Tree is 4-for-4, winning at distances ranging from six furlongs to one mile. The Uncle Mo filly will take aim at the Prioress distance of six furlongs for the first time since winning her debut on October 27 at Santa Anita.
The Bob Baffert trainee will be coming off a nearly seven-month layoff after being taken off the Kentucky Oaks trail with what her conditioner at the time described as a minor, unspecified issue. Dream Tree will be making her first start since posting a 3 ¾-length win in the Grade 2 Las Virgenes at one mile on February 4 at Santa Anita.
Dream Tree, who was purchased for $750,000, concluded her juvenile campaign with a 3 ¼-length win over Yesterday's News in the Grade 1 Starlet in December at Los Alamitos at 1 1/16 miles. She will now make her Spa debut, drawing post 8 with Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith aboard.
Staying with the slumber theme, Stonestreet Stables' Dream Pauline is also looking to remain unbeaten after posting back-to-back wins to start her career. The Tapit filly won her first race, recording a six-length score on December 3 at Aqueduct Racetrack going six furlongs. She returned for the start of her 3-year-old campaign, winning over the same distance on August 2 at Saratoga.
"She's doing very well and ran huge last race, she's very fit and doing great," McLaughlin said. "She has a great pedigree and a great mind; she's a really nice filly and we're very excited about her. It's a big step up from an allowance race to a graded stakes, but we feel she's a graded stakes filly."
McLaughlin said Dream Pauline could be stretched out going forward, but was content keeping her at six furlongs for now. The long layoff between starts, which saw her have a stint in Florida, has also helped to keep her fresh, McLaughlin said.
"We just felt like she needed a little bit of time and sent her down to Ocala and gave her 45 days off; she came back great and everything has been going well since," he said.
Dream Pauline initially stayed off the pace in both of her starts before a strong closing kick; a style McLaughlin said he would like to see continue as she steps up in class. Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano, who rode in her last start, will have the return call from post 5.
"We'd like [to see] her stalking second, third or fourth off a fast pace, just like last time," McLaughlin said. "She seems to be pretty professional. Javier knows her now and understands her, so hopefully, that'll be perfect."
Mia Mischief came within a neck of Separationofpowers in the Grade 1 Test on August 4 at Saratoga at seven furlongs. She returns to the same track less than a month later looking to notch her second graded stakes win, adding to her win in the seven-furlong Grade 2 8 Belles May 4 at Churchill.
Just once in nine career starts has Mia Mischief failed to finish on the board, with a fifth-place effort in the Grade 3 Victory Ride on July 8 at Belmont leading into a strong bounce-back effort in the Test, where she dueled with Separationofpowers, bumping multiple times, before earning runner-up status in her first Grade 1 appearance.
From post 4, Ricardo Santana, Jr. will ride Mia Mischief, who is trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen.
Moonshine Memories will return to stakes competition after an allowance win on July 19 at Del Mar. The victory followed a fourth-place finish in the Grade 1 Acorn on June 9, Belmont Stakes Day, where she briefly held the lead a half-mile in before tiring late in a race won by leading division contender Monomoy Girl.
The Simon Callaghan trainee registered back-to-back Grade 1 wins as a 2-year-old, winning the 1 Del Mar Debutante and the Chandelier in September 2017 before running seventh in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies in November at Del Mar.
Joel Rosario will have the call from post 7.
Bronx Beauty, a winner of five of her six starts for trainer Anthony Margotta, Jr., will make her first graded stakes start, drawing the rail with Hall of Famer John Velazquez riding.
Bronx Beauty enters her first Saratoga appearance with three straight stakes wins, including a two-length win in the New Start on June 2 at Penn National in her seasonal bow and a win by a head over Dixie Serenade in the Jose L. Flores on August 4 at Parx Racing.
Classy Act, seventh in the Test, is a stakes-tested veteran who went through the Kentucky Oaks trail, running second behind Monomoy Girl in the Grade 2 Rachel Alexandra on February 17 at Fair Grounds. After a 10th-place Oaks, the Bret Calhoun trainee defeated optional claimers on June 1 at Churchill and ran a neck behind Dixie Serenade for second in the Victory Ride.
After leading an eight-horse field through the opening quarter-mile in the Test, Classy Act tired late but will try to finish stronger in the Prioress, exiting from post 6 in tandem with Brian Hernandez, Jr.
Rounding out the field is Sower, third in the Victory Ride, for trainer Linda Rice from post 3; Win the War, winner of the Duchess on August 11 at Woodbine for trainer Mark Casse, out of post 9; Purfect Miss, looking to earn stakes blacktype for the first time for trainer Jeremiah Englehart, out of post 10; and Cathedral Reader, making her first stakes start for trainer Dallas Stewart, breaking from post 2.