Rail Runner

The Observations of a Horse Racing Enthusiast

The Honeybee Stakes: Joyful Ramblings

Posted by Brian Appleton on March 11, 2011

Oaklawn Park will set the stage for the next step along the Kentucky Oaks trail this Saturday when it hosts the $125,000 Grade 3 Honeybee Stakes for 3-year-old fillies. A field of nine talented fillies has been entered in the 2011 renewal of the 1 1/16 mile race.

Leading the field is Grade 1 winner Rigoletta along with Grade 2 winner Dixie City and the graded stakes placed Joyful Victory.

Rigoletta broke her maiden in her second try last year before placing third in the Darley Debutante (gr.1) and winning the Grade 1 Oak Leaf Stakes in early October. She was forced to miss the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr.1) because of a popped splint. She made her 3-year-old debut in the La Habra Stakes (gr.3) on February 21st at Santa Anita and finished an uninspiring 5th in her first try on turf. Trainer Dan Hendricks stated that he does not think the filly is as good on the grass and feels she will run a much better race in the Honeybee. She won the Oaks Leaf at the same 1 1/16 mile distance as the Honeybee but has never started on a dirt surface. Her latest work, a 5 furlong bullet move completed in a time of :58.40, seems to indicate that she is ready to run a sharp race.

Dixie City will be making her first start since winning the Demoiselle Stakes (gr.2) by 3 ¼ lengths on November 27th at Aqueduct. She won 3 of 5 starts in 2010 and has never finished worse than third. She has strung together three fantastic 4 furlongs works for trainer Tony Dutrow since mid-February, each better than the last. Her last move was a blistering :47.60 move that was even faster than her March 1st :47.80 bullet move. Dutrow is confident in his filly’s abilities and especially likes how enthusiastically she has taken to her training since moving to Oaklawn.

Together trainer Larry Jones and wife Cindy Jones have won the last three runnings of the Honeybee Stakes and Jones likes his chances to keep that streak alive on Saturday. Jones has two fillies entered to run in the Honeybee but it will be Joyful Victory that will take the most action at the betting windows. Last year Joyful Victory race just three times, breaking her maiden at first asking and closing out her juvenile campaign with a third place finishes in Grade 1 race Frizette Stakes and a 5th in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. She enters the Honeybee off a bullet 5 furlong move that went in :58.80 at Oaklawn Park and if that isn’t enough to turn heads Larry Jones says that she reminds him of Eight Belles. [Read the complete post Here on Horse Race Nation Kentucky Oaks Runner]

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