08/01/2012 3:52PM

Saratoga: Post 6 ideal spot for Agave Kiss in Prioress

Barbara D. Livingston
Agave Kiss, with trainer Rudy Rodriguez up, heads a group of seven 3-year-old fillies for Saturday's six-furlong Prioress.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – While the draw for Saturday’s Grade 1 Whitney Handicap drew most of the attention here Wednesday, there was still a little drama surrounding the draw for the other Grade 1 race on the card, the $300,000 Prioress for 3-year-old fillies.

Trainer Rudy Rodriguez said he would scratch his speedy filly Agave Kiss if she drew an inside post for the Prioress. Agave Kiss suffered her first setback in seven career starts when finishing a tiring fifth after breaking from the rail as the 1-5 favorite in the Grade 3 Victory Ride four weeks ago.

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Fortunately for Rodriguez, there will be no need to look for a scratch card after Agave Kiss pulled post 6 in a field of seven slated to go postward for the six-furlong Prioress. The lineup will have a familiar look with Agave Kiss set to face the first three finishers from the Victory Ride – Emma’s Encore, Jamaican Smoke, and Tu Endie Wei.

Jamaican Smoke was in part responsible for Agave Kiss’s poor effort in the Victory Ride, battling the favorite for the early lead and surviving the duel before ultimately succumbing to the late surge of the 37-1 Emma’s Encore to finish second best in her stakes debut.

“She won the battle with the heavy favorite but lost the war but I thought she ran great considering it was only her fourth start,” said Eddie Kenneally, who trains Jamaican Smoke. “She disputed a suicidal pace and just got a little tired at the end and couldn’t hold off the winner. Naturally, I wish we were drawn outside Agave Kiss rather than inside this time. You’d always rather be outside in sprints, and I’ll just leave it to the rider [Jose Lezcano] to decide whether to go or sit off the lead.”