Princess Grace wins the Grade 2, $200,000 Yellow Ribbon Handicap on Aug. 7, 2021 at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club. BENOIT PHOTO

Princess Grace Out to Reign in Ladies Turf Stakes

By Alicia Hughes

When evaluating the progress of Princess Grace through her first six career starts, there isn’t much to nitpick where the daughter of Karakontie (JPN) is concerned.

The only time the bay filly hasn’t reached the wire first is when she fell just a half length short in the 2020 Valley View Stakes (G2) at Keeneland last October. Her five wins have come over five different tracks and as good as she is on the grass, she demonstrated how adaptable her talent is when she took an off-the-turf edition of the Mrs. Revere Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs last November. 

This weekend, the filly who has been fazed by absolutely nothing takes aim at handling the wildcard that is the undulating Kentucky Downs course when she headlines the $750,000 Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf Stakes (G3) over eight furlongs on Sept. 11. 

Princess Grace brings a three-race win streak into Saturday’s test including victories in her first two outings of her 4-year-old campaign. The Michael Stidham trainee captured the Dr. James Penny Memorial Stakes (G3) in her seasonal bow at Parx on July 6 and most recently took the Grade 2 Yellow Ribbon Stakes (G2) at Del Mar on Aug. 7.

Owned and bred by John and Susan Moore, Princess Grace is building on a family tradition of sorts as Stidham also conditioned her dam, stakes-placed Masquerade.

“I will tell you this: this filly is tenacious and one of the most hard-trying fillies I’ve ever trained,” Stidham said of Princess Grace after her Yellow Ribbon victory. “I trained her mother and she was just like that – not quite as talented, but always digging in and trying to win every time out. This little filly has been at six different racetracks and she should be undefeated, the one loss was just unlucky.”

Instilled as the 2-1 morning-line favorite for the Ladies Turf, Princess Grace shares the 126-pound high-weight with Dalika (GER), winner of the One Dreamer Stakes at Kentucky Downs last September. Dalika won the Robert G. Dick Memorial Stakes (G3) on July 10 but finished fifth last time out in the Glens Fall Stakes (G2) at Saratoga on Aug. 7.

Fellow Ladies Turf entrant She’sonthewarpath is an eight-time winner out of 19 starts and comes into Saturday’s test in peak form off two stakes victories at Ellis Park while multiple stakes winner Shifty She figures to the speed of the race as she attempts to earn her first graded win. 

Venetian Harbor Headlines Ladies Sprint Stakes

The Richard Baltas-trained Venetian Harbor ships in from California to try and add another graded stakes victory to her resume in the $600,000 The Mint Ladies Sprint Stakes (G3) at Kentucky Downs on Saturday. The 4-year-old filly has been worse than second only once in 10 starts. In two turf races, she was second in her debut and won Santa Anita’s Grade 2 Monrovia Stakes on June 5.

Also in from the West Coast is the multiple stakes-winner and graded stakes-placed Superstition for Hall of Famer Richard Mandella. John Sadler sends out Santa Anita stakes-winner Constantia in the overflow field of 14.

The beer will be flowing in Henderson if Yes It’s Ginger prevails. There were so many people connected to Henderson beer distributor Mike “Hotdog” Utley, as well as the Brilliant Racing and Tagg Team Racing partnerships, that the winner’s circle presentation had to move to the main track after “Ginger” prevailed in the Kentucky Downs TVG Preview Ladies Sprint, which gave her a free roll in this 6 1/2-furlong race.

The Casse-trained Jeanie B (GB) lost the Royal North Stakes (G2) at Woodbine by a nose in her last start for owner CJ Thoroughbreds, whose managing partner Corey Johnsen was president and part-owner of Kentucky Downs before its sale to Ron Winchell and Marc Falcone.