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Frank’s Rockette prevails in Prioress

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Frank’s Rockette utilized a slightly different tactic – tracking in second instead of serving as the pacesetter – but a winning outcome was still the result, with the Into Mischief filly taking command entering the turn and drawing away for a 2 1/2-length victory in Saturday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Prioress for 3-year-old fillies at Saratoga Race Course.

Frank’s Rockette, owned and bred by Frank Fletcher, registered her third consecutive victory and has racked up four wins and a runner-up effort in five starts in her sophomore campaign for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott.

Under jockey Junior Alvarado, Frank’s Rockette broke sharp from post 5 but stayed just off Hello Beautiful, who led the eight-horse field through the opening quarter-mile in 22.23 seconds on the main track rated fast.

Approaching the turn, Frank’s Rockette overtook Hello Beautiful from the outside, posting the half mile in 44.77, and held the advantage on Reagan’s Edge in the stretch.

Under Alvarado’s left-handed encouragement, Frank’s Rockette pressed on and gained separation from the field, completing the six-furlong sprint in a final time of 1:08.89.

Mott said he was surprised to see Frank’s Rockette sitting second early.

“I thought we might be on the lead. I didn’t see that kind of speed coming from her [Hello Beautiful],” Mott said. “There were several horses in there that could have shown speed. It was possible Secondary Market [No. 4] could have shown speed. In these sprints, a lot depends on who gets the good break. Our filly broke well but Hello Beautiful broke exceptionally well and showed good speed as well. Junior rode her perfectly.”

The 3-2 favorite paid $5.10 on a $2 win bet. Frank’s Rockette improved to 5-4-0 in nine career starts and finished first ahead of Reagan’s Edge for a second straight effort, duplicating the order of finish in the Grade 3 Victory Ride on July 4 at Belmont Park in a gate-to-wire triumph. She also was the front-running winner against allowance company on May 25 at Churchill Downs.

Mott said he opted to skip the seven-furlong Grade 1 Longines Test on August 8 and instead wait for the six-furlong Prioress.

“The extra time helped our filly,” Mott said. “She looks good. She looks like she gained some weight and the distance of this race at six furlongs suits us very well. I’m pleased she showed up and ran fast.”

Alvarado won the Prioress for the second time, joining Emma’s Encore in 2012.

“She’s very quick out of the gate and she made my job easy today,” Alvarado said. “She got out of there and was easy to handle. I held her as long as I could, just waiting to turn for home and when I asked her, she responded very nicely. At the end, she was traveling away from them.

“By the five-sixteenths I knew what I had and I think she was waiting for it, too,” he added. “Turning for home, I asked her to give me a nice kick and she did.”

Reagan’s Edge, ridden by Jose Lezcano, finished one length ahead of Center Aisle. The Cherie DeVaux trainee has finished all five of her career races in the money [2-2-1].

“She’s a very nice filly,” Lezcano said. “The filly that won ran a very competitive race today especially with pressure on the front. My filly gave me everything she had the whole way around. She tried hard and it was a good second.”

Secondary Market, Sound Machine, Hello Beautiful, Up in Smoke and Purrfectly Claire completed the order of finish. Kimari, the 2-1 morning-line favorite, was scratched.

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