HALLANDALE BEACH, FL — A competitive field eight fillies and mares will clash in the $300,000 Honey Fox Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park on Saturday. Contested at a mile on turf, the 35th running of the Honey Fox will feature the one-two finishers from last year’s renewal, when Lady Lara edged Sandiva by a neck.
Sandiva, an Irish-bred mare owned by Al Shaqab Racing, will return to the turf in the Honey Fox. A three-time winner over the Gulfstream grass, including the $150,000 Marshua’s River Stakes on January 9, the 5-year-old took her chance on the main track in the $200,000 Royal Delta Stakes on February 13. She was sent off as the favorite, but broke a step slowly and was forced to make a wide rally, and wound up settling for second behind the impressive winner Penwith. The daughter of Footstepsinthesand has recorded four drills at her Palm Beach Downs base since the Royal Delta, and trainer Todd Pletcher expects another good performance from his consistent charge.
“We thought she ran very well on the dirt last time, but she’s also had a productive campaign over the Gulfstream turf course so we felt like timing-wise this suited her a little better than something else on the dirt,” Pletcher remarked. “We’ll bring her back on the grass for this one. I think she’s one of those versatile sorts that runs well on any surface. Her record at Gulfstream is quite good.”
Sandiva’s other performances at Gulfstream include successive wins in the Tropical Park Oaks and last year’s Suwannee River Stakes (G3). She will be reunited with jockey Javier Castellano in the Honey Fox, where she will break from post four.
Long Lake Stable and Beacon Hill Thoroughreds’ Tammy the Torpedo will look to extend her winning streak to three. Since returning from a 12-month hiatus in October, the daughter of More Than Ready has won three of four starts for trainer Chad Brown. She rallied to edge Celestine in the Tropical Park Oaks going a mile and a sixteenth on the Gulfstream grass on December 19, then showed she could rate on the front end as well in the nine-furlong Suwannee River Stakes (G3) on February 6.
“With the lack of pace in the race, we left it to (jockey) Joel (Rosario) to place her, but she doesn’t need the lead,” Brown said. She’s been training very well since the Suwannee River. We’ll just play the break (on Saturday) and see how it goes.”
Jockey Joe Bravo will take over in the irons on Tammy the Torpedo for the Honey Fox. The 4-year-old filly drew post position five.
Swettenham Stud’s Lady Lara will be back to defend her Honey Fox title for trainer Bill Mott. After defeating Sandiva in the My Charmer Handicap (G3) at Gulfstream Park West on November 21, the Irish-bred mare began 2016 with a creditable second to champion Tepin in the Endeavour Stakes (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs on February 13. Drawn in post six, Lady Lara will be ridden once again by Jose Lezcano.
Mott will also field Celestine, who followed her second in the Tropical Park Oaks with a good third in the one-mile Sand Springs Stakes on February 27. Owned by Phaedrus Flights LLC, the 4-year-old Scat Daddy filly will break from post two with jockey Junior Alvarado aboard for the first time.
The Honey Fox field is completed by E B Ryder, Mississippi Delta, A Little Bit Sassy and Elusive Collection.
Source: Gulfstream Park