Game Face Seeks Fourth Stakes Win This Year
Game Face, a romping winner of the Princess Rooney Handicap (gr. I) last out and five-time graded stakes winner, will carry top weight of 122 pounds as the even-money morning-line favorite in the $150,000 Honorable Miss (gr. II) Aug. 9 at Saratoga.
A field of six was drawn for the six-furlong Honorable Miss, which will go as race 9 on a Saratoga program that also includes the $250,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap (gr. II).
Zabeel Racing International’s Game Face has won three of six starts this season — all in graded stakes action. The 4-year-old daughter of Menifee–Galleon of Gold, by Gone West, began her season with a win in First Lady (gr. III), then won two starts later in the Inside Information (gr. II) — both at Gulfstream Park. Last out in the July 11 Princess Rooney, she took over after a half-mile and rolled to a 6 3/4-length score for her seventh win in 14 lifetime starts. The chestnut filly has been favored her last seven times out.
Bred in Kentucky by Marilyn Seltzer and trained by Todd Pletcher, Game Face has earned $689,348 from 14 starts. She will break from post 3 with Edgar Prado in the irons.
“She’s doing very well,” Pletcher said. "She came out of the Princess Rooney in good order and (at six furlongs) this race was a little more attractive to us than the seven-furlong Ballerina.”
The only other graded winner in the field is Johanna Murphy-Leopoldsberger’s Porte Bonheur, a 4-year-old daughter of Hennessy. One of those wins came last season at Saratoga when she downed previously undefeated Indyanne by a half-length in the Victory Ride (gr. III). In two starts this season, Porte Bonheur was runner-up in the Vagrancy (gr. II) and won the First Flight Handicap (gr. II) by a nose — both at Belmont and both under Ramon Dominguez, who will ride once again.
David Duggan trains Porte Bonheur, who is a five-time stakes winner.
"She got the job done at seven-eighths, but I like the switch back to six furlongs,” said Duggan. “The next time I go (seven furlongs) will probably be the Breeders’ Cup, if we get there. Right now, the timing of the race is perfect. She’s doing exceptionally well coming into it.”
Gary and Mary West’s Keep the Peace has been beaten by Game Face three times since May of 2008, including last out in the Princess Rooney when finishing a distant second. In fact, the Touch Gold filly has finished second in her last three starts and six times in 11 starts overall. The Eddie Kenneally trainee seeks her first stakes victory.
Rounding out the field are Lady Chace and All Giving, winners of stakes races at Prairie Meadows and Penn National, respectively, last out, and P. S. U. Grad, who is saddled by leading trainer Steve Asmussen.
$150,000 Honorable Miss Handicap (gr. II, Race 9, 5:30 p.m.), Fillies and Mares 3 & Up, 6 Furlongs (Dirt)
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