Prioress Stakes 2011 – Todd Pletcher trained Her Smile gets her first Grade 1 win
July 4, 2011, proved to be a day full of surprises and one such surprise came in the $250,000 Grade 1 Prioress Stakes at Belmont Park. The long shot Todd Pletcher trained, Her Smile in a race for three year old fillies, landed her first Grade 1 victory on 4 July.
Beaten comprehensively in her last two starts, Bobby Flair’s three-year old bay filly trailed the field of six fillies in the early part of the race. Ridden by jockey Javier Castellano, the pair loomed at the rear waiting for a clear opportunity to break free from the lot to cover the six furlong distance.
Her Smile coming from five straight defeats in her five tries this season, to land a Grade 1 came as a huge surprise. Daughter of Include, Her Smile previously competed in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks where she finished 11th out of thirteen horses and then went on to race in the Grade 1 Acorn Stakes for three-year old fillies where she finished a distant third in a field of six fillies.
Bred in Virginia by William M Becker, Her Smile started out along the rail, favoured Alienation was a major threat on the field but she settled in third place for the majority of the race while the leaders of the first four furlongs, Roman Treasure, and, Quantum Miss duelled through and through, ensuring that the race does not last speed.
Blistering pace maintained in the six furlong event, Quantum Miss kept losing the advantage to Roman Treasure, Ramon Dominguez aboard Roman Treasure, the pair took a slight lead over Quantum Miss with Alienation tailing them.
Jockey Javier Castellano took the race by the scruff of the neck when he decided to take advantage and urge Her Smile to shoot through a narrow opening. The movement was too quick for Alienation and Quantum Miss as the pair easily breezed past them in the mid-stretch to challenge the leader.
Little did jockey Castellano know that the challenge was going to come from Pomeroys Pistol, who was ridden by jockey, Cornelio Velasquez, as the pair followed the same path from the outside and rallied a fine run at the end but Her smile was too good for them as she made a run of her own to hold off Pomeroys Pistol in the final furlong and crossed the wire for her first Grade 1 victory.
Her Smile’s 10th start win increased her earnings to $316,360. The three year old filly made up for her losses this season, it was unexpected even by her connections especially since the field was filled with so many fast fillies and when it really matter she proved that she can run against such a company on such a short distance.