Precieuse Gives Brown Strong Hand in Honey Fox Stakes

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

February 28th, 2019

Trainer Chad Brown is renowned for his success training top-class turf horses, especially those formerly based in Europe—think Sistercharlie, Zagora, Flintshire, Real Solution, etc.

It appears Brown could be poised to unleash another such star in Saturday’s $150,000 Honey Fox Stakes (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park, a one-mile turf race for fillies and mares that will mark the seasonal debut of #1 Precieuse, an Irish-bred filly owned by Peter Brant.

When based in France with trainer Chappet Fabrice, Precieuse was a filly of the highest caliber, scoring a classic victory in the 2017 Group 1 Poule d’Essai des Pouliches (French 1,000 Guineas). Following a disappointing run against a tough field in the 2017 Group 1 Coronation Stakes, Precieuse went to the sidelines for more than a year, returning on August 4, 2018 to make her debut for Brown in the one-mile De La Rose Stakes at Saratoga.

Precieuse ran too good to lose that day, producing a sharp rally over a rain-soaked turf course to take the lead at the eighth pole, but she was caught at the finish by her Brown-trained stablemate Uni (who went 4-for-4 in 2018) and lost by a head.
That was Precieuse’s most recent run, so she’ll be returning from another lengthy layoff on Saturday, but Brown does well with such runners, and the one-mile distance of the Honey Fox should be perfect for Precieuse. On paper, she appears to hold a class edge over this field, and some of her key rivals appear less than likely to improve on their recent form.

For example, #2 Valedictorian ran a bang-up race to win the Suwannee River Stakes (gr. III) at Gulfstream last month by 2 ½ lengths, but she also got an absolute dream trip that day, carving out slow fractions of :25.56, :51.88, and 1:16.64 before rocketing the final three furlongs in :33.48—no one was going to catch her with that trip. And #9 Bellavais, who defeated Valedictorian decisively in the Marshua’s River Stakes (gr. III) in January, did so with a picture-perfect ground-saving trip and will lose the services of jockey Javier Castellano, who is keeping the mount on Precieuse instead. It’s also worth noting that both Valedictorian and Bellavais will tote 123 pounds in the Honey Fox, six more than Precieuse.

I see no reason to get overly aggressive in the exotics. Instead, I’ll bet Precieuse to win and key her on top of a small trifecta:

$21 to win on #1 Precieuse $1 trifecta: 1 with 2,9,10 with 2,7,9,10 ($9)

Good luck!