Prioress Could Introduce New Grade I Winner

For the first time in its 54-year history, Belmont's Prioress Stakes will be run Wednesday as a grade I event. Most of the race's seven starters could make the event their first grade I win as Stormy Pick is the only member of that exclusive club slated to race Wednesday. Stormy Pick won last year's Spinaway Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga.

Multiple stakes winner Xtra Heat certainly has the most experience in the Prioress Field, but Jayeff B Stable's Cat Chat will carry an equal amount of weight Wednesday, 121 pounds. Perhaps the last start for both fillies will explain their status as the top weight carriers. In the May 9 Nassau County Stakes (gr. II), Cat Chat just edged Xtra Heat to win by a nose that day. However, the daughter of Storm Cat and Phone Chatter only has three lifetime starts, which hardly stacks up to Xtra Heat's record of 13 wins in 15 starts. The feature is the seventh race Wednesday, and is followed by the grade II Tom Fool and the grade III Poker Handicaps.

The field for the $200,000 Prioress, including weight and rider from the post out is: 1) Cat Chat, 121, John Velazquez. 2) Astrapi, 116, Diane Nelson. 3) Above Perfection, 116, Jorge Chavez. 4) Shooting Party, 116, Edgar Prado. 5) Harmony Lodge, 116, Jerry Bailey. 6) Xtra Heat, 121, Rick Wilson. 7) Stormy Pick, 118, Javier Castellano.

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