08/09/2009 12:00AM

If Game Face falters, Porte Bonheur can profit


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Trainer David Duggan was feeling pretty good about his chances in Sunday's Grade 2, $150,000 Honorable Miss Stakes with the filly Porte Bonheur until he picked up the overnight and saw the Grade 1 winner Game Face entered in the same six-furlong race for fillies and mares at Saratoga.

"If you can get Game Face scratched, I'd be very happy," Duggan said Friday morning.

If she is able to duplicate her monster effort in the Grade 1 Princess Rooney four weeks ago at Calder, Game Face probably wins the Honorable Miss, which drew a field of six. But if she regresses, Porte Bonheur is the most likely upsetter.

Porte Bonheur went 2 for 2 at Saratoga last summer. She won the restricted Flanders Stakes before taking the Grade 3 Victory Ride and defeating the subsequent Grade 2 winner Indyanne and Informed Decision, who has gone 4 for 4 since, including a Grade 1 Humana Distaff victory.

Porte Bonheur has already finished ahead of Game Face this year. She was second in the Grade 2 Vagrancy Handicap when Game Face was fifth. Porte Bonheur came out of the Vagrancy to win the Grade 2 First Flight Handicap in her first try at seven furlongs. While naturally pleased with the victory, Duggan maintains Porte Bonheur's best trip is six furlongs, which is why he is running her here and not in the Grade 1 Ballerina on Aug. 29.

"I think she's probably better running at six furlongs with a fast pace to run at," said Duggan, whose horse will be in receipt of five pounds from 122-pound highweight Game Face.

The pace should be fast with the likes of Keep the Peace, Lady Chace, and All Giving in the field. But a fast pace should aid Game Face, who figures to stalk the speed before coming with her run, as she did in the Princess Rooney at Calder.

"The race unfolded like we thought it would," said Todd Pletcher, the trainer of Game Face. "She got the trip that she likes to get; everything worked out really well."

Edgar Prado will ride Game Face from post 3.

P.S.U. Grad will make her first start for trainer Bob Baffert after running competitively in listed stakes at Lone Star and Prairie Meadows. Keep the Peace ran second to Game Face in the Princess Rooney, her fifth runner-up finish in a graded stakes. All Giving has won 12 of 33 starts, but is winless in two tries at the Spa.