Ridden by Eibar Coa, the daughter of Stormy Atlantic has posted back-to-back graded stakes wins since being moved to the barn of Barclay Tagg this spring. My Princess Jess took advantage of a narrow gap between the fading pacesetter Stealin' Kisses and the leader Alwajeeha inside the eighth pole. Replays showed she jostled Stealin' Kisses while cutting back to the hedge and engaging for the lead. She outfought Alwajeeha from there to take control in the final strides.
An inquiry was held into the stretch run, but stewards decided not to make a change in the order of finish. They left My Princess Jess ($6.10, $3.40, $2.30) on top and Alwajeeha ($6.40, $3.70) in second. Zee Zee ($2.80) finished third.
“You don’t like to lose races, especially after you win them," Tagg said of the inquiry. "I wasn’t too worried about her getting through. She’s pretty gutsy. She has run on soft turf, but not against this type of competition. She has a lot of ability and courage, and she showed that today."
Tagg said that My Princess Jess would be given a break and he would aim for the Belmont's Garden City (gr. IT) at nine furlongs Sept. 6 and Keeneland's Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (gr. IT) over the same distance Oct. 11.
Favored Mousse Au Chocolat had a miserable trip in her first try on American soil. She balked after the starting gate opened and spotted the field several lengths, then found more trouble in the stretch and gave way, finishing last.
“My filly couldn’t pick it up," said jockey Christophe Lemaire, over from France to ride the 9-5 choice for trainer Jean-Claude Rouget. "The inside horse (Receipt) crossed my line (In the stretch) and I nearly fell down” after clipping heels.
Stealin' Kisses, with Alwajeha in close attendance and My Princess Jess stalking on the inside, loped along through the opening six furlongs in quarter-mile clips of :25.24, :50.14 and 1:14.59. Alwajeha, ridden by John Velazquez, made a bid for the lead on the outside coming into the stretch and edged away approaching the furlong pole. But My Princess Jess, who steadied on the first turn, managed to squeeze through as Stealin' Kisses, who clipped heels with the winner, gave way in the lane.
Coa described an eventful trip aboard the winner.
“She was a little closer than I wanted her to be, and I had to take a kind of big hold on her. She didn’t like it. That’s why she was throwing her head up (on the first turn). But I think (on the backstretch) she relaxed and I was in a good position all the way to the quarter-pole. Then, I had nowhere to go. I needed to wait for a little bit of room. When I finally got it, she helped me out, splitting horses nice. She ran like much the best.”
Zee Zee, with jockey Kent Desormeaux looking for his 5,000th victory, advanced three wide in the stretch but lacked the needed finish, and wound up two lengths behind the runner-up. Receipt, Stealin' Kisses and Mousse Au Chocolat trailed. Forest Trail was entered for the main track only.
The time for the 1 1/16-mile event for 3-year-old fillies was 1:44 flat over soft going.
My Princess Jess has four wins and three runner-up finishes in seven career starts (all on turf) with earnings of $285,420. Her victories have all come this year over different turf courses. My Princess Jess captured the Boiling Springs (gr. IIIT) at Monmouth Park in her last start for Tagg. Prior to that, the dark bay filly won Belmont Park's Gaviola Stakes for trainer Robert Barbara.
Bred by Adena Springs, she was sold for $50,000 at the breeder's 2-year-old sale in April 2007.
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