Champagne d'Oro Heads Prioress

In her first start at Belmont Park, Champagne d’Oro was dismissed at 39-1, resulting in a handsome $81 reward to her backers when she wired the 14-horse field in the Grade 1 Betfair TVG Acorn on the Belmont Stakes undercard June 5.


Champagne d’Oro is not likely to fly under the radar again when she takes on four other 3-year-old fillies in search of her second consecutive Grade 1 victory in Sunday’s 63rd running of the $250,000 Prioress at Belmont Park.


Since winning the Betfair TVG Acorn, the daughter of Medaglia d’Oro, owned by Southern Equine Stable LLC and trained by Eric Guillot, has remained stabled at Belmont Park under the care of Guillot’s assistant, Richard Baltas. Though a surprise to some, the filly’s breakthrough victory in the Betfair TVG Acorn came as no shock to her trainer, who has watched her progress steadily in four starts on dirt.


“She’s done nothing wrong since I got her out of California and off synthetic,” Guillot said by phone from his base at Louisiana Downs. “I only got five works into her before that maiden race at Fair Grounds on February 20 after she was off almost four months, she won that, then stretched out a month later and was second to Quiet Temper [in the Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks]. She ran into traffic in the Kentucky Oaks, so you throw that one out, and I just knew that one-turn mile [in the Betfair TVG Acorn] was right up her alley.”


Though Guillot thought of running Champagne d’Oro in last Saturday’s Grade 1 Mother Goose, he found the Prioress a more attractive option given his intended plans for her.


“The Mother Goose was too quick back and I wanted to come off a sprint going into the Test [Grade 1, 7 furlongs, August 7 at Saratoga Race Course], not back up from a mile and a sixteenth,” Guillot said. “I think seven-eighths is her best distance and I haven’t gotten to run her at it yet – that’s why I’m eyeballing the Test.  Running three-quarters at Belmont is more like seven-eighths, in my opinion, because you have those big turns.”


Miguel Mena will ride from post position 2.


Franny Freud will return to open company in the Prioress as she goes for her fourth straight win, having soundly defeated fellow New York-breds by a combined 13 ¾ lengths in her two most recent starts. Each of the talented Freud filly’s 2010 victories have come over a different surface.


Narrowly defeated by Amen Hallelujah in the Grade 2, seven-furlong Santa Ynez at Santa Anita Park on January 16, Franny Freud came back to win Keeneland’s Grade 2 Beaumont at the same distance on April 7. Both races were run over artificial surfaces.

From there, Franny Freud returned to New York and captured the 6 ½-furlong New York Stallion Stakes Park Avenue Division on May 2, and later in the month beat a mixed field of New York-bred fillies and colts in the seven-furlong New York Stallion Stakes on turf in a prep for the Prioress, which trainer John Terranova has had penciled in on Franny Freud’s calendar for some time.


“She’s a very gifted, special filly,” Terranova said. “She trains herself. She’s like a machine – she loves to get out there and breeze and she does it all on her own. We’ve had some nice horses come through the barn, but she’s just amazing, and I wonder if we’ve only just scratched the surface with her.”


Owned by Paul Pompa and Stephen Yarborough, Franny Freud has seven wins and two second-place finishes from 10 lifetime starts. She has faltered only once, tiring to finish fifth in her only previous Grade 1 attempt, the Frizette for juvenile fillies at Belmont Park last October. Though Terranova is focused on the Prioress, he, too, is looking ahead to the Test.


“We’re just taking it one race at a time,” Terranova said. “Hopefully, the Prioress might lead us into the Test. She deserves to win a Grade 1; she’s that type of filly.”


Garrett Gomez has the return call and will break from post 3.


From California, Bonnie Blue Flag will make her first graded stakes appearance in the Prioress. The Mineshaft filly has been on a roll since breaking her maiden at Santa Anita on April 4, capturing a 1 1/16th mile allowance race at Hollywood Park later that month, then winning the seven-furlong Cinemine Stakes at Lone Star Park by 6 ½ lengths on May 31 in her first start on dirt.


Martin Garcia, the filly’s regular rider, will come in for the race and the pair breaks from the rail.


Completing the field are Funny Feeling, a stakes winner at Monmouth Park on May 31, and Stormandaprayer, who broke her maiden at Belmont Park on June 12.


The field for the Grade 1 Prioress:








Bonnie Blue Flag (KY)

M Garcia


B Baffert



Champagne d'Oro (KY)

M Mena


E J Guillot



Franny Freud (NY)

G K Gomez


J P Terranova, II



Funny Feeling (KY)

A Garcia


M J Maker



Stormandaprayer (KY)

R Maragh


J J Toner







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