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Emma’s Encore Rallies to Prevail in Prioress Stakes

emmas encore
Florida-bred Emma’s Encore tagged Judy the Beauty right on the wire to win Saturday’s Prioress Stakes (G1) at Saratoga.

Saddled by Hall of Fame Trainer Allen Jerkens, 83, Emma’s Encore was piloted by Junior Alvarado.

“Like the old days,” said Jerkens, who wept following the Prioress, his first graded stakes win at Saratoga since Any Limit captured the 2008 Grade 2 Honorable Miss and his first Grade 1 since Miss Shop landed the 2007 Personal Ensign at the Spa.

It was the second straight graded stakes score for Emma’s Encore, who upset the Grade 3 Victory Ride at 39-1 on July 7 at Belmont Park.

“After she won the Victory Ride, I was really confident in her,” said Alvarado. “She broke really good again. I got her to settle and feel comfortable in the race. We tried to save ground because I knew we were going to be running late. Turning for home, she was moving, but we were wider than I wanted to be. She gave me a really nice kick at the end. She ran really hard to win that race. Approaching the wire, I knew we had it. These last two races have really worked out well for us.”

Emma’s Encore, who paid $12.40 as the 5-1 co-third choice in the Victory Ride, completed six furlongs in 1:09.35. She races for owners Brenda Mercer and Peter A. Berglar.

“I think she improved a little [from the Grade 3 Victory Ride],” said Jerkens. “She had to run her very best. [Junior Alvarado] has been good. It all counts. Everything has to go well. The horse has to run good, the horse has to be good, has to be fit enough. She really had to run today. Nothing was in her favor today, looking at the late scratch. It looked like speed was holding on pretty good.”

The Prioress win, worth $180,000, pushed her career earnings to $342,958.

Emma’s Encore, who sold for $2,000 as a yearling, is a daughter of Congrats and was bred in Florida by Equest Thoroughbreds.

–NYRA Press contributed to this report.

Emma’s Encore/NYRA photo by Adam Mooshian