French G1 Winner Precieuse Gets First US Win Off The Layoff In Honey Fox

Making her second start in the United States, Peter Brant’s Precieuse got her first stateside win this Saturday in the Grade 3 Honey Fox Stakes at Gulfstream Park. Despite a layoff since August at Saratoga, the 5-year-old daughter of Tamayuz was favored at even money and got the job done, defeating Valedictorian by three-quarters of a length at the wire. Precieuse is trained by Chad Brown and was ridden to victory by Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano, completing one mile over the firm turf in 1:34.14.

Bred in Ireland by Knocktoran Stud, Precieuse was a Grade 1 winner in France in May of 2017, then was off for over 13 months before reappearing in Saratoga to run second by a nose in the 2018 Fasig-Tipton De La Rose Stakes. The mare returned nearly seven months later this weekend for the Honey Fox victory, running her career record to three wins and five seconds from nine starts with earnings of nearly $500,000.

La Signare was hustled out of the gate to take the lead entering the clubhouse turn, and tried to steal away on the front end while setting early fractions of :23.51 and :46.51. Precieuse followed in about fifth position at the rail, patiently awaiting her opportunity under Castellano.

Though La Signare extended her lead to nearly five lengths rounding the turn, Valedictorian ranged up on the outside of the frontrunner and took command of the race heading into the lane. Precieuse just angled off the rail to follow that rival, then jumped into the bridle in the final eighth of a mile to run down the leader and cross the wire about three-quarters of a length the best. Valedictorian had to settle for second, while Bellavais finished a close-up third ahead of Hogans Holiday.

“It meant a lot for us to win today. Mr. Brant has been very patient with this horse, obviously she hasn’t run much in the couple of years with a few injuries. It was important to get the year started off and she deserved to run the whole year and not be bred,” Brown said. “My staff did a fabulous job to have her ready and Javier really rode a great race. It was a tricky mile race off the layoff, but he really judged the race well and got a nice clean trip and I’m really happy with her.”

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