09/04/2016 7:49PM

Lucy N Ethel returns from injury to upset Prioress

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Barbara D. Livingston
Lucy N Ethel, ridden by Jose Lezcano pays $47.40 for winning the Prioress.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Lucy N Ethel won the first three starts of her career in a seven-week period. After missing eight months due to an ankle chip, the 3-year-old Lucy  N Ethel  picked up where she left off, scoring a front-running, half-length 22-1 upset victory in Sunday’s Grade 2, $300,000 Prioress Stakes at Saratoga.

Hustled to the front out of the gate by Jose Lezcano, Lucy N Ethel took some heat from multiple stakes winner Dearest through splits of 22.05 seconds for the quarter-mile and 44.96 for the half-mile but kept going, keeping Dearest at bay to the wire.

Lucy N Ethel, a daughter of During, covered the six furlongs in 1:09.33 and returned $47.40 to win.

Dearest finished second by 2 3/4 lengths over Takrees, who got third by a neck over Off the Tracks, the 2-1 favorite. She was followed, in order, by Kareena, Coniah, One True Kiss, Lost Raven, Coppa, and Appealing Maggie.

Lucy N Ethel is owned and bred by Steven Perry’s J A G Racing and James Stevenson’s Jettany Thoroughbred Corp.

Though she had been trained by Ramon Preciado for her first three starts, Chloe Bradley - Preciado’s longtime assistant - was the trainer of record for this race. Preciado is facing 270 days worth of suspensions for multiple clenbuterol positives though he has a valid trainer’s license in Pennsylvania and New York.

Perry said Bradley has been training Lucy N Ethel at a farm in Westhampton, N.J., though Lucy N Ethel shows workouts at Parx.

Perry said that after Lucy N Ethel had a chip removed from an ankle she did her rehabilitation at a farm in Ocala, Fla. Perry said the horse was then sent to Bradley at the New Jersey farm.

“When we sent her from the farm in Ocala to the farm in Jersey Chloe was at the farm taking care of a string of horses,” Perry said. “It felt comfortable for us.”

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Perry said he had hoped Lucy N Ethel could run in a race before the Prioress. Lucy N Ethel was scratched out of the Aug. 14 Blue Sparkler Stakes at Monmouth Park because track officials there weren’t sure who was actually training the horse, Bradley or Preciado.

New York stewards said they talked to New Jersey investigators, who confirmed that Lucy N Ethel was based on the Westhampton, N.J. farm. Bradley has a valid receipt as an owner/trainer in New York.

“This filly could be in Ramon’s hands or Chloe’s hands. She was an assistant to Ramon for a long time,” Perry said. “She could go back to Ramon. We’re a group. We’re connected.”

- additional reporting by Jim Dunleavy