The Honeybee- Grade III
OP Race 1 1 1/16M Dirt
Purse $200.000 for Fillies
Three Year Olds
With three big Derby preps this week the lone Oaks prep is somewhat flying under the radar. This is an important 50 point race though and has drawn a strong field of contenders that have varying degrees of accomplishments on their resumes. Let’s take a look and see if we think it will be one of the established stars getting home first or an exciting newcomer.
1 Choose Wisely, trained by La Canada Racehorses
This filly is coming into this race fresh off her maiden score at the Fairgrounds. The field she beat that day does not look to contain any stars and her time was not especially fast so not sure how she is going to fit here. The other issues with having preps at some of these less popular tracks in the jockey selection and unfortunately she draws a 9%. Recent mile work is a tad slow and besides the post I do not see much going in her favor.
2 Manifest, trained by Smokey Stover
Making her debut for Smokey Stover after being purchased for $550.000 during the trainer’s recent shopping spree. You can certainly see what attracted Smokey to this one as she has a great pedigree, a nice build and some good success on the track having broken her maiden in the Sandpiper Stakes and running a good third in the Forward Gal. Worked a very fast mile after being purchased and with the good draw and jockey I expect a big showing.
3 Millinneal, trained by Mb stables
Must be a nice problem to have when you can sell off a filly like Manifest and still have two quality entries in here but such is the life of our leading trainer. This is certainly the less accomplished of his two runners winning two of 8 races lifetime. One of those wins was in her last effort where she returned to the dirt after a few unsuccessful attempts on the grass and won an optional claimer at 200-1. She did work a very fast mile recently so it is possible she has taken a little longer to develop but I will look elsewhere for the winner.
4 Indian River Queen, trained by South Beach racing
Two for eight lifetime with both wins coming in Florida state bred races. She did run a respectable fourth in the Martha Washington from a difficult post last time out and retains the services of Ricardo Santana which is a plus. That race was run over a muddy surface however so you have to wonder if that gave her a boost. Her previous speed ratings do not stack up well so I am not able to recommend.
5 Confidently In Love, trained by Mb Stables
Entry #2 from Mb would appear to be the morning line favorite based on her body of work. Has won 3 of 6 and all of her victories have been in Grade 1 races. Last time out Mb decided to buck conventional wisdom and try her against the boys in the Holy Bull and she certainly did not embarrass herself there running a very good third. The big question here will be did that effort take too much out of her because she would seem to be too good for the others if not.
6 Night School, trained by Maxmillion Farm
Has been a different filly since being purchased for $75.000 in November from End Run Farm. Debuted for Maxmillion in a six furlong state bred stake where she prevailed by a neck and followed that up with a win in a nwx1 at a mile. She will be facing a new level of competition here though so will need to see if she can handle the step up before wagering any money on her.
7 Denisonii, trained by Night Mare Racing
Lightly raced filly has only gone to the post twice winning her debut on the turf and then going in the Ruthless where she was no factor from an outside post. Trainer has focused more on breeding than racing but comes into this with a nice 23% win rate so you know she picks her spots well. Gets the leading jockey and has some very nice works recently so could surprise at a nice price.
8 Broomsticks Concerto, trained by Drabfantasy
Most experienced runner in the field has raced 10 times with 2 wins and 4 2nds. Both victories were in NM bred races which is something this trainer tends to dominate. Last outing was in the grade 2 Alexandra Stakes where she was no factor from a good draw. Having drawn a much more difficult spot today I am going to look elsewhere for the winner.
9 Gabrielle, trained by Alydar Stables
Starting from the far outside we have this very nice filly that has won 4 of 6 starts 3 of which are stakes efforts. Even with this impressive resume she never seems to get the supports of the public as she has never gone off at less than 13-1 and that may not be much different today considering the post. Last out she was a very impressive winner of the Suncoast proving that she can handle the distance. If she had a better draw I would give her a big chance but as is I think a minor award is her most likely outcome.
I am not exactly sure how this one will unfold as there does not seem to be a natural front runner in the group. Gabrielle does have good tactical speed and since she has drawn outside she may find herself out front. In any event I think Confidently In Love has too much class for this field and should find her way home first.