SARATOGA SPRINGS -- Royal Charlotte was undefeated coming into the 2019 Saratoga Race Course before losing for the first time in her career.
On Saturday, she broke even for the meet, by beating the undefeated Break Even.
Rebounding from a sixth-place finish by 20 3/4 lengths to Covfefe in the Grade I Test on Aug. 3, Royal Charlotte took advantage of a fast pace up front and passed Break Even in deep stretch to win the Grade II Prioress.
Trainer Chad Brown attributed some of Royal Charlotte's difficulty in the Test four weeks ago to a main track surface that he believes has become more conducive to her running style since then.
"She didn't do any running in the Test, but she wasn't handling the track that day," he said to the New York Racing Association. "I just had noticed that the past couple weeks the track has changed in the morning, and I think it might just be the climate.
"But for whatever reason, the track has been playing differently in the morning, and I didn't have anywhere else to run her."
In the Prioress, Royal Charlotte and jockey Javier Castellano tracked Break Even 2-3 lengths behind in the early stages.
Break Even and Shaun Bridgmohan covered the first quarter-mile in 21.87 and the half in 44.76 and appeared to be in control of the race at the eighth pole, but Royal Charlotte was able to catch her at the sixteenth pole to win by 1 1/2 lengths.
Riding a 6-for-6 start to her career since debuting with a five-length win at Fair Grounds in January, Break Even held second place without threat from the remaining three fillies.
"I went to the front, and we got caught late," Bridgmohan said. "She tried, like always."
"I really liked the filly in the Test a couple weeks ago and took off another horse [Covfefe] to ride her, and Covfefe won the race," Castellano said. "I don't know what happened to my filly that day. Maybe she didn't handle the track.
"I like the way she did it today. The pace was hot, and I had Break Even as a target every single step of the way."
Royal Charlotte had been 4-for-4 at four different tracks since March before losing for the first time in the Test.
The Prioress was Brown's 13th stakes victory of the meet and the ninth win in a graded stakes.
Trainer Graham Motion scored the exacta in the Grade II Glens Falls for fillies and mares on the Inner Turf Course, when Mrs. Sipppy got up to beat stablemate Empressof the Nile by three-quarters of a length.
Ridden by Joel Rosario, Mrs. Sippy was making her first start in North America after having raced in Great Britain and France from October of 2017 to June 8 of this year. She had been training this summer at Fair Hill in Maryland.
"Every time I looked away, Joel had crept up a couple spots," said Motion, who was trying to keep his eye on both of his horses. "It was an impressive performance and an impressive ride by Joel. She did everything right.
"I'll have to look for bigger fish to fry, because I thought her win today was very nice."
"It looked like she just wanted to follow somebody the whole time," Rosario said. "I just thought that's the way she's probably used to running in Europe.
"She did well for her first time here. Graham just told me to be comfortable where you are and take it from there."
Brown wasn't the only one who has noticed that the courses at Saratoga have evolved since opening day, and it may have benefited trainer Michael Trombetta's colt, Global Access, who won the Grade III Saranac for 3-year-olds on the Inner Turf Course.
Global Access, who finished third in the National Racing Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame on Aug. 2, edged Brown's 3-5 betting favorite Good Governance in the Saranac.
Ridden by John Velazquez, Global Access emerged from a pack of four behind front-runner Power Player to win by a neck.
"Talking with John, after he rode him the first time, I could just sense he was a little frustrated and it didn't go as well as he wanted," Trombetta said. "A the time, the turf course was carrying really fast. I think he was anxious to get another opportunity to ride him. He managed him great today.
"It's a little late in the meet, and maybe it [turf] isn't as fast as it has been."
"When I put him behind horses last time, he was very rank, so today was totally different," Velazquez said. "He relaxed really good and kicked hard down the lane. I was really comfortable with the way he was going."
With two days of racing left, Brown has 41 winners in a race for the training title that was all but over weeks ago.
Besides his Prioress win with Royal Charlotte, he won the first race with Structor.
Brown will be hard-pressed to tie his own meet record of 46, established last year. He has horses entered in four races on Sunday and two on Monday, closing day.
Jose Ortiz came into Saturday's card with a 55-50 lead over his brother, Irad, in the jockey title chase, and increased it slightly to 57-51 with victories aboard the Bill Parcells-owned Three Technique in the seventh and No Word in the eighth.
Many of Brown's horses have carried the familiar white silks with the red "KS" in a red circle, representing Seth Klarman's Klaravich Stables.
Not coincidentally, Klaravich clinched the owner's title by this weekend, for which there was a presentation to Klarman in the winner's circle after the eighth race.