Game Face Confident Winner of Honorable Miss
by Jack Shinar
Date Posted: 8/9/2009 6:16:12 PM
Last Updated: 8/11/2009 9:49:44 AM
Game Face gets her second consecutive graded stakes victory after winning the Honorable Miss Handicap at Saratoga.
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Favored Game Face, ridden by a confident Edgar Prado, drew off from pacesetter Keep the Peace in deep stretch to win the $150,000 Honorable Miss Handicap (gr. II) (VIDEO) by 1 1/2 lengths Aug. 9 at showery Saratoga.
Game Face, coming off a 6 3/4-length win in the Princess Rooney Handicap (gr. I) at Calder Race Course one month ago, is back at the top of her form for trainer Todd Pletcher after throwing in a pair of uncharacteristically poor efforts this spring. The Honorable Miss win, coming in her Saratoga debut, was her fourth graded victory of the year. The 4-year-old daughter of Menifee owns eight wins from 15 lifetime starts.
Sent off at 7-5, Game Face always looked like a winner. She broke well, racing between Keep the Peace at the rail and Lady Chace on the outside, through quarter-mile splits of :22.76 and :45.74. Lady Chace gave way as P. S. U. Grad, along the inside, and second choice Porte Bonheur ranged into contention in the homestretch. But Prado merely showed Game Face the whip, and the game chestnut filly edged away in the final sixteenth of a mile to win in a time of 1:10.70 on a fast track.
“It didn’t unfold exactly like we’d planned," Pletcher noted. "She seems to like stalking, but she broke so sharply and put herself in a good spot and Edgar maintained his position. She ran a big race. She’s a very genuine filly, she shows up almost every time."
Pletcher said the $400,000 Presque Isle Downs Masters Stakes (gr. III) at 6 1/2 furlongs on Sept. 12 could be next for Game Face.
“We came running out of the gate to see what the other horses are doing," said Prado, who rode Game Face for the first time in the Princess Rooney. "She was very happy, so I let her do what she was doing. She was comfortable, pretty much in command most of the race. She’s a nice, easy filly to ride. She always gives me the kick.”
Keep the Peace, ridden by Julien Leparoux, held second by three-quarters of a length over P.S. U. Grad and Kent Desormeaux. Porte Bonheur was a head behind in fourth. Lady Chace and All Giving trailed.
The multiple graded stakes winner Game Face earned $90,000 for owners Zabeel Racing International, boosting her career bankroll to $779,348.
A $280,000 Ocala Breeders' Sale purchase in March 2007, Game Face was bred in Kentucky by Marilyn F. Seltzer. She is out of the Gone West mare Galleon of Gold.
Game Face carried top weight of 122 pounds and paid $4.40, $3 and $2.70. Keep the Peace, who also ran second to the top horse in the Princess Rooney for trainer Eddie Kenneally, returned $6.10 and $4.40 while completing a $2 exacta of $23.20. P. S. U. Grad, making her first start for trainer Bob Baffert, was $3.80 to show.
"She showed up again today and ran a tremendous race," Keneally said of the runner-up. "She didn't quit. She's a determined filly, but Game Face is a tough filly. She's the real deal."
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