La Prevoyante Might Be Final Call for Irish Mission

La Prevoyante Might Be Final Call for Irish Mission
Photo: NYRA

After four seasons of racing that have seen her earn more than $1.2 million, Robert Evans’ Irish Mission is getting ready to close the chapter on a highly successful career.


But after finishing a troubled 11th in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (G1), the mare will look to add more of a fairytale ending to that chapter, when she goes to the post in search of a win in the $100,000 La Prevoyante Handicap (G3), one of three Grade 3 stakes on Saturday’s December 27th card at Gulfstream Park.


“She’s doing great,” trainer Christophe Clement said. “She came out of the Breeders’ Cup. She had a bit of freshening up after that. She’s been training well. It’s exciting. The La Prevoyante might be her last race. Then we’ll go from there.”


Irish Mission, a 5-year-old Ontario-bred daughter of Giant’s Causeway and the Miswaki mare Misty Mission, earned two Sovereign Awards as Canada’s top 3-year-old filly and top grass mare in 2012, propelling a maiden win at Keeneland directly into a victory in the $500,000 Woodbine Oaks and a subsequent runner-up effort against colts and geldings in the prestigious $1 million Queen’s Plate Stakes. She also won that year’s Breeders’ Stakes.


Formerly under the care of Mark Frostad, Irish Mission joined the Clement stable in 2014 and has established herself as a distance specialist. She finished second in the two-mile marathon that is the Belmont Gold Cup in July (again against males), beaten just a length by Charming Kitten, before later winning the 1 3/8-mile Glens Falls Stakes (G3) at Saratoga in August, her most notable performance this year. Irish Mission was installed the race’s 120-lb highweight.


She will break from post 12 in a full field of 14 under jockey John Velazquez and has been installed the 5/2 morning line favorite.


“She’s a true stayer,” Clement said. “She’s a good horse, and it’s exciting to see her run.”


Irish Mission is one of three Clement entrants in the La Prevoyante. Joining her in the starting gate will be stablemates Maximova, third last time out in the Long Island Handicap (G3) at Aqueduct on November 8, and Tabreed (GB), who finished fifth behind Maximova in the Long Island but prior to that was third in the Kentucky Downs Ladies Marathon Stakes on September 24. Maximova will break from post four under Irad Ortiz, Jr., while Tabreed will have the far inside post and the services of Joe Bravo.


“Tabreed is also a long distance specialist, and [the La Prevoyante] might be her last race as well,” Clement said. “It’s also fun to try [Maximova] back at the longer distance.”


While Irish Mission and Tabreed’s careers are winding down, Cay Dancer’s may just be getting started. The English-bred will make her North American debut in the La Prevoyante after being entered in last weekend’s Tropical Park Oaks but not drawing into the field. Cay Dancer joined Chad Brown’s stable after winning two of her last four starts in handicaps in England and being purchased by Bradley Weisbord for the Highclere America ownership group. A daughter of Danehill Dancer (IRE), she has won three starts this year and ran a notable third against her male counterparts in the Daily Unibet Early Prices Handicap in June. The 7/2 second choice in the La Prevoyante, she made her last start, a second-place effort at Nottingham, in August.


“She settled in nicely, and every week I’ve seen her improving in her works,” Brown said. “I like what I see so far.”


Brown also entered Clearbrook in the La Prevoyante. The 4-year-old daughter of Smart Strike was a well-beaten tenth in the My Charmer (G3) at Gulfstream Park West in her most recent outing, but she scored the start before in an allowance at Belmont Park on October 8. She made three starts during the 2013-2014 winter meeting at Gulfstream, most notably finishing third in the Orchid Handicap (G3), contested at the same distance as the La Prevoyante. She drew the two-hole and will be ridden by Luis Contreres.


Modernstone (GB) and Bohemian Dance (IRE) are the only other runners to have won going 1 ½ miles, both having done so in Europe. Modernstone, trained by Bill Mott, did it twice in England, but she has not won in six starts (four stakes) since coming to North America earlier this year. Bohemian Dance, on the other hand, has earned two victories for trainer Michael Dilger since making the transition to an American race program. She won an allowance at Aqueduct in her most recent outing on November 13 over fellow La Prevoyante starter Premium (GB), yet another European transplant who will make her United States stakes debut in the race.


Other La Prevoyante starters include Photo Call (IRE), who coasted in her North American debut when taking an allowance at Keeneland by 3 ½ lengths on October 24 for trainer Graham Motion; Always Kitten, fourth, just behind Tabreed, in the Kentucky Downs Ladies Marathon Stakes; and Julie’s Love (GB), third in the Maple Leaf Stakes (G3) at Woodbine on November 1. Honey Lake, Angegreen (ITY), and Auld Alliance (IRE) round out the field.


The La Prevoyante, set to be run at Gulfstream for the first time, is the eighth race on a 10-race card Saturday. Post time is 3:58 p.m.


Source: Gulfstream Park

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