KARAKONTIE’s dual surface graded stakes winner Princess Grace won her third straight graded stakes race on Saturday with an impressive victory in the Yellow Ribbon Handicap (G2) at Del Mar.
The filly took up a position in the back of the main pack for much of the 1 1/16 mile turf race and was content to bide her time as Raymundos Secret took up pacemaking duties. As they raced around the turn, jockey Kent Desormeaux asked her to move a little closer and she complied.
Instead of trying to go to the inside or the outside of those in front of Princess Grace, Desormeaux sent her right through the center of the field and Princess Grace willingly threaded her way through the traffic. Once she had the lead, Princess Grace showed her talent to put a few lengths on the field in only a matter of strides.
Dogtag was the only threat down the stretch but even she couldn’t make up the ground Princess Grace had on the field, finishing second to the winner by 1 ¼ lengths.
“(Trainer Mike Stidham) told me one thing before the race that I used to advantage today: He said ‘She’s brave.’ When that hole opened turning for home, I sent her through and she went right on with it,” said Desormeaux.
Trained by Stidham for owner-breeders John and Susan Moore, Princess Grace took her earnings to $440,460 with the victory. The filly’s current win streak started in the Mrs. Revere Stakes (G2) on dirt last November after she finished second by only half a length on the Keeneland turf in the Pin Oak Valley View Stakes (G3).
The KARAKONTIE daughter has won her five races in five different states and her hardiness was commended by Stidham after the race.
“I will tell you this: this filly is tenacious and one of the most hard-trying fillies I’ve ever trained,” he said. “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. I don’t know what’s next, I haven’t looked past this race. This was going to be her test to step up to another league and she obviously passed the test really well.”
Bred 3 x 3 to Sunday Silence, Princess Grace is out of the stakes-placed Silent name mare Masquerade. That mare is a half-sister to Grade 3 winner Svea Dahl, who produced stakes winner Amazing Tale.
Princess Grace is one of seven stakes winner and 12 stakes performers for KARAKONTIE, whose 12.63% stakes placers to runners is the highest of any Kentucky-based third crop sire. The stallion’s 7.37% strike rate with stakes winners to runners is also higher than all but one other top 10 third crop sire.