Prioress S. (G2) — Race 9 (5:39 p.m. ET)
After taking the Saratoga meet centerpiece, the Travers (G1), last weekend with Epicenter, owner Ron Winchell and trainer Steve Asmussen will look to keep things rolling on Friday when Wicked Halo breaks inside of nine three-year-old filly rivals in the $250,000 Prioress S. (G2).
Victorious in last year’s Adirondack (G2) in her only prior run over the Saratoga strip, Wicked Halo was slow to find the winner’s circle earlier this term following an extensive layoff. However, the gray enters the six-furlong Prioress on a roll following back-to-back stakes wins in the seven-furlong Leslie’s Lady S. and one-mile Tepin S., both at Churchill.
The likely favorite is Hot Peppers, who followed up a win in the Victory Ride (G3) with a runner-up finish in the Test (G1) over seven furlongs earlier this meet. The speedy daughter of Khozan should appreciate the cut back to six panels, though the Rudy Rodriguez barn has been cold at the Spa session with two wins from 78 starters through last Sunday.
Miss Preakness (G3) winner Lady Scarlet returns to her preferred surface after running up the track in the Coronation Cup on turf earlier this meet. Half Is Enough, a close second to Hot Peppers in the Victory Ride, also goes turf-to-dirt after a modest try in the Galway S.
Smash Ticket and Union Lake both won earlier in the meet against allowance foes and have plenty of upside, as does the Brad Cox-trained Angitude, who yielded late in the restricted Wilson S. over a mile on opening day of the Saratoga season.