Cilla Rallies In Stretch To Win Prioress At Saratoga

After a stretch duel with Souper Sensational that saw the two brushing not once but twice, Cilla, last-out winner of the Blue Sparkler at Monmouth Park, rallied late to win the Grade 2 Prioress Stakes by a half-length at Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

Under Tyler Gaffalione, Cilla broke sharp and then settled into fourth behind Oxana and Edie Meeny Miny Mo, who traded the lead early in the six-furlong Prioress. Victor Espinoza, in from California to ride Edie Meeny Miny Mo for a second time, took over entering the far turn, but could not hold on to the advantage entering the stretch. To her outside, both Cilla and Souper Sensational took up position for their stretch runs, with Ricardo Santana, Jr. poised to send Souper Sensational on as they hit the Saratoga straight.

Gaffalione and Cilla stayed with her, the two fillies dueling in the race’s final furlong. As they approached the wire, Cilla rallied past Souper Sensational in the race’s final yards to a half-length lead at the finish. Li’l Tootsie was third. Oxana and Edie Meeny Miny Mo rounded out the order of finish.

Ricardo Santana, Jr. claimed foul after the race, citing interference by Cilla and Gaffalione in the stretch, but the stewards dismissed the foul, allowing the final results to become official.

The final time for the six furlongs was 1:10.05 over a fast track. Find this race’s chart here.

Cilla paid $23.40, $6.20, and $3.40. Souper Sensational paid $2.50 and $2.10. Li’l Tootsie paid $3.50.

“She’s fast and she’s a 3-year-old. There’s limited opportunities for those fillies. We felt like after we got her on track a couple of races ago and that we were going to let her step along and buy her way to the next one. She’s obviously bought her way to this one.” Brett Brinkman said after the Prioress.

“As soon as Ricardo [Santana, Jr., aboard Souper Sensational] put a head in front of me, I asked her and she surged back to them, so I was confident that we were going to be able to come back to them. I was confident that we were able to get back,” Gaffalione told the NYRA Press Office after the race. “She fought gamely and all the credit goes to the connections for having her ready.”

Bred in Louisiana by Brett A. Brinkman and P. Dale Ladner, the 3-year-old filly is by California Chrome out of the Into Mischief mare Sittin At the Bar, a black-type stakes winner in Louisiana. Owned by P. Dale Ladner, Cilla is trained by Charlton Baker. The filly was a $120,000 RNA consigned by Taylor Made Sales at the January 2019 Keeneland Horses of All Ages Sale. The Grade 2 Prioress is the filly’s fourth win in six starts in 2021, for a lifetime record of five wins in ten starts and $326,000 in career earnings.

 

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