Norma Lee Stockseth and Todd Dunn's Cosmic Burst earned herself 50 points towards Kentucky Oaks eligibility with a late rally to win Saturday's $200,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) before an on-track crowd of 17,000.
Rebounding from a third last out in Martha Washington Stakes, Cosmic Burst settled into second as Amy's Challenge shot out of the gate to grab the early lead through fractions of :23.27 and :46.02 for the first half mile while holding an eight-length advantage. The winner, ridden patiently by Richard Eramia, was angled five wide into the stretch and rallied in the final strides to gain the advantage by 1 ¾ lengths over the early leader at the wire. She completed the 1 1/16-mile race in 1:44.19 over a fast track.
“She definitely broke better today,” winning trainer Donnie K. Von Hemel said. “And, we saw the filly we expected to see last time (in the Martha Washington). You can probably blame the track a little bit for last time. She wasn't herself from the get go that day for whatever reason. Hopefully, she's back on track.”
Amy's Challenge, making her first start around two turns, earned 20 points towards Kentucky Oaks eligibility, Sassy Sienna earned 10 points for third and 4-5 favorite Red Ruby earned five points for fourth.
Cosmic Burst, a Violence filly, has now four of her six career starts and has earned $267,080. She returned $10.80, $4.80 and $4 as the 4-1 third choice in the eight-horse field.
Live racing resumes Sunday with a 1:30 p.m. first post.
Honeybee Stakes Quotes:
Winning trainer Donnie K. Von Hemel, Cosmic Burst: “She definitely broke better today. And, we saw the filly we expected to see last time. You can probably blame the track a little bit for last time. She wasn't herself from the get go that day for whatever reason. Hopefully, she's back on track.
Winning Jockey Richard Eramia, Cosmic Burst: “I saw a lot of speed on paper. I was waiting until the last quarter and she responded really well. I really like this filly. She has a lot of talent. Last time she didn't like the race track because it was so sloppy, but today she did like she was supposed to do. She ran like she was supposed to last time.”
Trainer Mac Robertson, second with Amy's Challenge: “She got a little keyed up in front of the crowd. Her other races have been sprints so she's been on the backside where it's quiet. I noticed in the post parade she broke out (in sweat) more than I would have liked. She was pretty pumped. She came to run. She needs to relax a little better than that to run two turns. I was pleased with her effort.”
Jockey Jareth Loveberry, second with Amy's Challenge: “She's still learning. She ran three of those sprints so fast and wouldn't quite settle. If I could have gotten that second quarter just a second slower, I think she keeps going. But, she was just kind of excited, first time running two turns. She ran hard even running for home. She was tired, but they came to her and she dug in and tried. That's all I can ask for her.”
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