Trainer Chad Brown predicted Premier Steps would improve off her disappointing U.S. debut when he ran her back in Sunday’s $100,000 Sweetest Chant at Gulfstream Park. And sure enough, Brown was right.
Rallying from perfect position off the pace of Discreet Marq, Premier Steps wore down the game leader in the final strides to register a neck decision in the one-mile Sweetest Chant. Caroline Thomas rallied belatedly outside the top pair to finish another neck farther back in third.
Premier Steps was bumped leaving the gate and never seriously threatened when finishing sixth as the 4-5 favorite in the Grade 3 Miesque at Betfair Hollywood Park in her 2-year-old finale. The Irish-bred Premier Steps was beaten a neck against Group 3 company in her previous start at Deauville in France.
“I take some responsibility for the Miesque,” said Brown. “I had her in a nice rhythm at Belmont, I was really liking this filly, and the Miesque looked like a perfect spot, a mile on firm turf. I don’t usually debut my European horses 3,000 miles away from my home base and take a young horse out of her element. I experimented, it didn’t work, I learned my lesson, and I won’t be trying it again anytime soon. That first race was probably my own fault.”
Jockey Javier Castellano eased Premier Steps back off the early leader, Discreet Marq, and Mystic Love, who pressed the pace for more than six furlongs. Premier Steps launched her rally three wide into the stretch and wore down the game leader in the closing strides. Caroline Thomas lagged near the rear of the six-horse field, swung four wide rallying into the stretch, but fell just short with her final bid.
Mystic Love, who defeated males in the Dania Beach here last month, came up empty for the drive, and finished fifth.
Premier Steps completed a mile in 1:34.20 over the firm course and paid $5.
“I thought she ran very well,” said Brown. “I think she’s still learning the game going two turns over here but I was proud of her effort. I think when she felt that horse coming on her right side it kind of gave her an extra gear there and she was game to win.”