HOT SPRINGS, AR – Norma Lee Stockseth and Todd Dunn’s Cosmic Burst overcame a loose-on-the-lead Amy’s Challenge late to take Saturday’s Grade 3, $200,000 Honeybee Stakes at Oaklawn Park.
Off well from post 3 under Richard Eramia, Cosmic Burst raced in the two-path while Amy’s Challenge took off like a rocket from the gate, taking as much as an 8-length lead while setting splits of :23.27, :46.02, and 1:10.27. When Amy’s Challenge appeared to run out of gas at the top of the stretch, Cosmic Burst was the only foe to have enough energy to catch her. The Donnie Von Hemel-trained filly hit the wire first by 1 3/4 lengths in a final time of 1:44.19 for the 1 1/16-mile main track event.
“I saw a lot of speed on paper,” Eramia said. “I was waiting until the last 1/4 (mile), and she responded really well. I really like this filly. She has a lot of talent.”
Though devoid of anything left in her tank, Amy’s Challenge held on to take second by 1 1/4 lengths over Sassy Sienna. The even-money favorite Red Ruby took fourth, with Bo Peep, Stronger Than Ever, and Rahway completing the order of finish.
The Honeybee is part of the Road to the 2018 Kentucky Oaks prep race season. Cosmic Burst earned 50 points for the win, with Amy’s Challenge receiving 20 for second, Sassy Sienna 10 for third, and Red Ruby 5 for fourth.
Cosmic Burst’s win was her first of 2018 after finishing third in a sloppy edition of the $125,000 Martha Washington Stakes here at Oaklawn. Prior to that, the daughter of Violence had won three straight. The victory improved her record to 6-4-1-1 with career earnings of $267,080.
“She definitely broke better today, and we saw the filly we expected to see last time,” Von Hemel said. “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.”
Cosmic Burst returned $10.80 to win, $4.80 to place, and $4 to show. Amy’s Challenge brought back $4.60 to place and $3.60 to show, while Sassy Sienna paid $3.60 to show.