September 26, 2023

Dream Tree remains perfect with Prioress romp

Phoenix Thoroughbred III’s DREAM TREE ran her mark to a perfect five for five on Sunday when drawing away for a 4 1/4-length victory in the $250,000 Prioress Stakes (G2) at Saratoga.

The Bob Baffert trainee was making her first foray outside of California in this spot and hooked up with 9-5 favorite Mia Mischief from the get go. The latter lass set the opening half-mile splits in :22.30 and :44.93 with Dream Tree pressing on the outside under jockey Mike Smith.

Dream Tree drew even with Mia Mischief on the backstretch and the pair continued battling it out into the stretch. Smith offered left-handed encouragement and Dream Tree finally put her rival away, pulling off to stop the clock in 1:09.50 over the fast main track.

Sent off the near 2-1 second choice, Dream Tree returned $5.80 for her third straight graded win. Mia Mischief entered this spot off a neck second in the Test Stakes (G1) at the Spa on August 4 and just held the runner-up spot by a head from a fast-closing Moonshine Memories. Sower followed in fourth while completing the order of finish were Cathedral Reader, Purrfect Miss, Classy Act and Win the War.

Dream Tree has banked $527,500 to go along with her unbeaten five-for-five record. After breaking her maiden by a nose last October at Santa Anita Park, the Uncle Mo filly captured the Desi Arnaz Stakes by that same margin at Del Mar. She then shipped to Los Alamitos and closed out her juvenile campaign with a 3 1/4-length triumph in the Starlet Stakes (G1).

Dream Tree returned to action on Sunday in the Prioress off a seven-month break, having last been seen taking her sophomore bow in the February 4 Las Virgenes Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita.

Bred in Kentucky by Mike and Pat Freeny, Dream Tree is out of the Afleet Alex mare Afleet Maggi and comes from the same female family as 2012 Travers Stakes (G1) winner Golden Ticket. She’s passed through the sale ring three times, most recently bringing $750,000 as a Fasig-Tipton March two-year-old in training.


Mike Smith, jockey Dream Tree, winner

“She gave me goosebumps to be honest. 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 (trainer) Bob (Baffert) had her ready today. He told me that’s why he decided to ship her.”

Bob Baffert, trainer Dream Tree, winner

“Man, she brought it today. 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. We 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 (jockey) 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.”