Up And Comers Take the Stage in Honeymoon Stakes

Honeymoon Stakes (Grade 3)- $100.000 Purse
SA- For Fillies Three Years Old
One Mile and One Eighth on the Turf
May 29, 2022

Coming up at SA on Sunday will be the 18th running of the Grade 3 Honeymoon Stakes, which is held for three year old fillies. Over those eighteen years, the race has seen a lot of changes, first being held at HOL as a Grade 2 until 2013. In 2014, the race headed north to SA, still as a Grade 2, but got downgraded in 2019. The purse has seen fluctuation, beginning at $175.000, and first dropping to $150.000 before being increased to $200.000. Then, last year, the purse reached a new low, which is the current $100.000 that the race runs for. That could have affected the field quality, as only one horse in this field has won more than $102.000 in her career, which is The Nation, at just over $250.000. Yes, I conveniently picked $102 to rule out Stayinschoolirene, who sits at $101.000, but other than those two, no one has made more than $66.000 in their career. So, really, there may not be a ton of excitement for this race this year, but that does not mean that a year later we can’t look at this race as the starting point where one of these fillies saw their career take off. Let’s look at the field of seven!

#1- Peppermint Diamonds (Allinthegate, ridden by A Cedillo)- After winning her first two races, both at TUP, the trainer gave her a big test by entering her in the Grade 2 Demoiselle, and she struggled. She’s rebounded to an extent, in that she has been cashing checks for her trainer, but she has not won again. Was fourth in her return to stake racing in March, the Cincinnati Trophy Stakes, a KYO prep, and has not been back on the track since.

#2- Chaotic Good (Bigchief Stables, ridden by J Bravo)- Broke her maiden in her fifth career start, coming at HOU and she followed that up very well in her last outing, winning an allowance at GG. In each, she jumped right out to the front and was able to stay there, so we can probably expect to see more of that here. Has never raced in anything other than a turf race at over a mile.

#3- Lady Hilltopper (Black N Gold Stable, ridden by Ru Gonzalez)- Claimed by the trainer from Our Athletes for $14.000 at GP in February, and Black N Gold Stable would change some things up about her. In her first start with the trainer she picked up a win in what was her first race at both going long and running on the grass. Handled stake company well last month in the $100.000 Memories of Silver, running third and being within a length of the win. Seems like she will only keep moving forward here.

#4- Stayinschoolirene (Rock Creek, ridden by V Espinoza)- The filly has won just a tick more than $100.000 for her career, and has gotten a good amount of stake experience already. She’s won two of eight, and hit the board in six of those. One of those races was the Grade 3 FL Oaks at TAM, where she was second, though beaten by six lengths and it was on yielding turf. Followed that up with a good looking victory in an open allowance at PRX against older and more experience company, but was six pounds lighter than all of them. This race should not have a “but” attached to it, so let’s see!

#5- Tulip (Lazy Eye, ridden by J Pyfer)- The trainer looks for their first graded victory, since returning to action under this name. Tulip does not have a lot of experience out there, making just two starts, but the trainer has been patient with his $25.010 auction purchase. Broke her maiden here last month against CA-breds, with Pyfer aboard, and based on that, she is getting quite a test.

#6- Lets Have Fun (Chubby Racing, ridden by E Maldonado)- Raced here on the same day that Tulip broke her maiden, and came from way off the back to win a $32.000 claimer. It was her second victory, on the heels of breaking her maiden at TUP. She has made a start since then, trying the $75.000 Campanile on the first of the month and ran third. Her SRF’s are low compared to most of her rivals.

#7- The Nation (Arindel, ridden by Mario Gutierrez)- If we were basing this off of career earnings, then The Nation should have it in the bag. She’s made eleven career starts, and has been a regular in stakes company since her second start. A good two year old season saw her place second in the Grade 2 Schuylerville at SAR. This year, she has only been running on the turf, and scored a win in the $200.000 CA Cup Oaks in January. Every now and then, she throws up a dud, so I’d be hesitant to put a lot of money on her if she was an overwhelming favorite, which she may be. A couple in here are very capable of knocking her off.

Prediction: 7-4-2-3

— NS

Categories: Grade III, STAKES ARTICLES

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