Dream Tree Impressive Off The Layoff In Prioress, Remains Undefeated

Phoenix Thoroughbreds’ Dream Tree has now won all five of her career starts, impressively winning Sunday’s Grade 2 Prioress off a seven-month layoff. The 3-year-old daughter of Uncle Mo, ridden by Mike Smith for trainer Bob Baffert, took on the very game 8-5 favorite Mia Mischief on the far turn and blew on by in the stretch to cross the wire a 4 1/4-length winner. Second choice at 9-5 in the wagering, Dream Tree completed six furlongs over Saratoga’s fast main track in 1:09.50.

“She gave me goosebumps to be honest,” Smith said. “I had never ridden her in the afternoon. I was fortunate enough to work her one morning, so I knew she was really talented, but I didn’t realize she was this talented. You go back and look at some of fillies that she’s beat and she’s beaten some really, really good fillies, so the only thing that worried me a little bit was the long layoff, but she handled that well within herself. She was sharp out of the gate and she’s pretty aggressive in the post parade, she gets herself wound up, but the best part of the race is when the doors open; that’s when she relaxes. She has a natural high cruising speed and Bob [Baffert] had her ready today. He told me that’s why he decided to ship her.”

Mia Mischief jumped out of the starting gate on top of the field, immediately joined by Cathedral Reader and Sower for the run up the backstretch. Dream Tree broke in a bit at the start, squeezing back Moonshine Memories, but recovered her stride and took up position in second through a first quarter in :22.30.

Smith allowed Dream Tree to press Mia Mischief all the way through the far turn, clocking the half-mile in :44.93, and the two fillies turned for home on even terms. Mia Mischief was getting out a bit, but as soon as Smith gave Dream Tree her head the race was over. Dream Tree kicked away impressively, crossing the wire 4 1/4 lengths the best. Mia Mischief had to settle for second, while Moonshine Memories rallied from the rear of the field to gain third.

“Man, she brought it today,” said Baffert. “She had been training so well and we were debating on running her here [at Del Mar] in a stake on closing day or take her to Saratoga. She decided to give her a shot since she was doing so well. I’m just glad she shipped well and is still undefeated. That freshening really helped her. She’s really matured a lot. She showed today how good she really is. It’s pretty exciting.

“She showed last year that she could win going short, going long. She’s extremely fast. Turning for home, I thought, ‘Man, I think she’s ready.’ They were going pretty fast. I think Mike [Smith] was pretty impressed with her. Sometimes it works out and sometimes, it leaves you scratching your head. I’m just really glad it worked out.”

Bred in Kentucky by Mike and Pat Freeny, Dream Tree was an $80,000 weanling at the Keeneland November sale, then realized $225,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July Yearling Sale. Phoenix paid $800,000 for her at the Fasig-Tipton Florida Select 2-year-old sale, and she has rewarded them with five wins from five starts, including a trio of graded stakes races. Dream Tree’s earnings now stand at over $530,000.

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