11/21/2013 3:45PM

Delta Princess: Miss Behaviour gets distance test


Can she go the distance?

That’s the big question facing Miss Behaviour coming into the Grade 3, $500,000 Delta Downs Princess on Saturday. She answered it once already this week by making a successful 20-hour trip to Vinton, La., from her base at the Bowie Training Center in Maryland.

Now, Miss Behaviour must answer the question on the track as she makes her first start beyond 6 1/2 furlongs in the one-mile Princess for 2-year-old fillies, which drew fellow graded winners Bahnah and Concave. The Princess is one of eight stakes on a card led by the Grade 3, $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot.

[DELTA JACKPOT: Get PPs, watch Saturday's full card live]

Miss Behaviour, front-running winner of the Grade 2 Matron at Belmont Park and second in the $100,000 Sharp Cat last time out, arrived Tuesday after a road trip that was split up by an overnight stay at a farm in Tennessee.

“She handled it great,” said trainer Phil Schoenthal. “Good horses just have class. She’s got a lot of sense.”

Schoenthal said the Princess became the target for Miss Behaviour’s two-turn debut in part because of the track configuration at Delta.

“In general, a bullring is more conducive to the speed horse,” he said. “The tighter turns, the shorter stretch. It’s one of the reasons we wanted to try it here.

“She certainly trains like she can handle the extra distance. This will tell us the direction we want to go in next year.”

Miss Behaviour, who will be freshened on a Florida farm following the Princess, will be ridden for the first time by Sheldon Russell. Schoenthal said Russell actually helped prepare Miss Behaviour for the races, but injury kept him from riding her and the mount went to Garry Cruise.

Bahnah, dead-heat winner of the Grade 3 Schuylerville at Saratoga, finished first in the Princess prep, the $150,000 My Trusty Cat, but she was disqualified and placed fifth for a scuffle on the final turn. She has since been training at Fair Grounds.

“I think it’s a big advantage she’s had a race over that track, which is a three-quarter-mile oval,” said Bret Calhoun, who trains Bahnah. “It’s a little different around two turns there, and on that surface, which all can be tricky.”

The My Trusty Cat was Bahnah’s first start around two turns, and Calhoun said he was pleased with how she handled the trip. She will break from post 3, under Rosie Napravnik.

“She’s a fast filly,” Calhoun said. “She’ll be forwardly placed.”

Concave exits the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies in which she was pulled up due to the catastrophic breakdown of a rival. She will be looking for her second stakes win Saturday, having won the Grade 2 Sorrento at Del Mar. Concave is also looking for her first two-turn win in the Princess.  

“She’s got a tremendous stride, she’s got natural speed, and she’s got real good stamina,” said trainer Doug O’Neill. “You never know until they do it, but in the morning, working her six furlongs, she gets stronger as the work unfolds. If gives us reason to think that with a clean trip distance won’t be a problem. If anything, it will be a benefit.”

Mario Gutierrez has the mount.

Tepin, a half-sister to Vyjack, and Appreciating, who is Grade 2-placed, both go for trainer Mark Casse. Synapse, daughter of 15-time stakes winner Sarah Lane’s Oates, returns after being placed first in the My Trusty Cat. The seven-horse field is completed by Zip On.