Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider's homebred Lull, making her first start finishing fifth in the Matriarch (G1) at Del Mar in November, set a fast pace and had just enough at the finish to hold off Res Ipsa and win Saturday's $250,000 Honey Fox (G3) at Gulfstream Park on Florida Derby Day.
A 4-year-old daughter of War Front trained by Christophe Clement and ridden by Jose Ortiz, Lull went to the front and set fractions of :22.44, :45.06 and 1:08.56 while being chased around the first turn and backstretch by Stormy Victoria and Conquest Hardcandy. Entering the stretch, Ortiz and Lull opened up a two-length advantage and were just able to hold off Res Ipsa, who closed from last, by a nose.
The winning time was 1:33.14 over a firm 1 1/16 mile course.
Trainer Christophe Clement (Lull): “Jose is a great rider, that's why he rides so much for us. We were a touch worried because it was her first time back, but we knew she was big enough to win. She's top class, six, seven furlongs, a mile is probably her best. She's a wonderful filly to be around. Belmont day is definitely on our radar for her.”
Jockey Jose Ortiz (Lull): “Christopher (Clement) told me she has speed and just not to take a big hold and if she wants to be there [on the lead], let her be there. We were expecting softer fractions than that, but she was going fast but very relaxed. That was important in getting home.”
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