HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Phaedrus Flights’ Celestine entered Saturday’s $300,000 Honey Fox (G2) as one of the logical choices in a wide-open 35th renewal of the race and completed the turf contest as the decisive gate-to-wire victor with a 3¼-length win under Junior Alvarado.
Breaking well, the lightly raced 4-year-old dark daughter of Scat Daddy set an easy pace over the good going through fractions of 24.44, 48.42 and 1:12.83 for six furlongs before turning for home in the mile race and kicking clear aggressively to cover seven furlongs in 1:24.43. In the end, the Bill Mott trainee was easily clear of Jackpot Ranch and Mike G. Rutherford’s Mark Casse-trained Mississippi Delta and Julien Leparoux, finishing up in 1:36.09. It was a neck back to Al Shaqab Racing’s Todd Pletcher-trained Sandivain third under Javier Castellano.
Celestine, who won for the fifth time in 11 starts and tallied her first graded stakes win, returned $12.60, $7 and $4.40. Mississippi Delta, at 12-1, returned $11.20 and $6.40, while 5-2 Sandiva returned $3.20.
Trainer Bill Mott (Celestine): “You always worry about the course being a little slippery. I wasn’t sure how that was going to work out but she seemed to handle it well. I thought she could very well be on the lead the way it looked on paper. I didn’t think that was any surprise. The only surprise to me was that the other filly I ran [Lady Lara] didn’t come with a bigger run. She made a little run around the turn and then flattened out, which isn’t like her. I thought they’d be running at [Celestine] at the end but she ended up running away from them.”
Jockey Junior Alvarado (Celestine): “She was the speed of the race. (Trainer) Bill (Mott) left it up to me, but I was pretty confident in her. I could take back if someone went. She was just cruising out there. I thought they would need six legs if they wanted to pass her in the stretch. I was just a passenger.”
Source: Gulfstream Park