Undefeated Break Even and Risky Mandate square off in G2 Prioress
by Keith McCalmont
Klein Racing's Break Even, perfect through six starts, and Ghost Hollow Farm's Risky Mandate, undefeated in two appearances, feature in Saturday's Grade 2, $250,000 Prioress, a six-furlong sprint for sophomore fillies at Saratoga Race Course.
Break Even, a dark bay daughter of Country Day trained by Brad Cox, won her first two starts at Fair Grounds before winning the Purple Martin at Oaklawn in her stakes debut.
Cox then stepped the talented filly up in class in the Grade 2 Eight Belles at seven furlongs over a sloppy Churchill Downs main track, where she won by a widening 5 1/2-lengths. The well-traveled filly bobbled at the start of her Belmont Park debut in the six-furlong Jersey Girl, but held safe for a three-quarter length score that garnered a career-best 99 Beyer Speed Figure.
Last out, trying turf for the first time on July 14 in the Coronation Cup, Break Even again led gate-to-wire over next-out Galway winner Eyeinthesky.
Shaun Bridgmohan, aboard for five of Break Even's wins, retains the mount from the inside post.
Risky Mandate, a dark bay daughter of Strong Mandate trained by Tom Amoss, graduated in style on debut by 6 1/4-lengths in a Churchill Downs maiden sprint. Out of the stakes-winning mare Paying Off, Risky Mandate was even more impressive last out with a driving 3 1/2-length victory over winners when sprinting seven furlongs on the Saratoga main.
Amoss said he is hopeful someone will go with the pacey Break Even in the opening stages on Saturday.
"It's never a good feeling in a small field to see one horse control everything, but that won't change our game plan," said Amoss. "We're going to run our race and see what happens. She's trained very well over the track.
"She's a physically imposing horse," added Amoss. "Even going back to watching her train in her 2-year-old year, she's always been straight quality."
Jose Ortiz will guide Risky Mandate from post 2.
First Row Partners and Parkland Thoroughbreds' Royal Charlotte earned a career-best 89 Beyer when four lengths the best in the Grade 3 Victory Ride at 6 1/2-furlongs on the Belmont main on July 5 to cap off a four-race win streak to launch her career. Last out, the grey daughter of Cairo Prince conditioned by leading trainer Chad Brown finished sixth in the Grade 1 Test.
She will emerge from post 5 under Hall of Famer Javier Castellano as she looks to return to winning form.
Rounding out the field is Treadway Racing Stable's Kept True. A three-time winner from five starts for trainer Leah Gyarmati, the dark bay daughter of Yes It's True has won her last two starts, including an off-the-turf sprint on July 18 at the Spa.
Irad Ortiz, Jr. will pilot Kept True from post 6.
Rounding out the field are South of France [John Velazquez, post 1] and Break Curfew [Ricardo Santana, Jr., post 4].
The Prioress, slated as Race 3, is one of four stakes on the lucrative Woodford Racing Festival card including the Grade 1, $750,000 Woodward presented by NYRA Bets; the Grade 2, $250,000 Glens Falls; and the Grade 3, $200,000 Saranac. First post is 12:30 p.m. Eastern.
The Woodward will be the centerpiece of Saturday's Saratoga Live broadcast airing on FS2 from 2:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Eastern, and regionally on MSG+ from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Eastern.