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Honey Bunny Pays Dividends in Winning Colors

Honey Bunny Pays Dividends in Winning Colors

LOUISVILLE, KY – Since claiming her for $16,000 in April 2018, trainer John Ortiz’s Honey Bunny has paid dividends, and on Saturday, she became a graded stakes winner when she got up late to win the $100,000 Winning Colors Stakes (G3) at Churchill Downs.

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Breaking from post 11 under Tyler Baze as the 3/1 soft favorite, Honey Bunny took back early and watched as Upset Brewing blitzed up front through opening fractions of :21.46 and :44.44. Beginning to make her move as the field headed into the far turn, Honey Bunny steadily advanced while running five wide, then emerged onto the front stretch full of run and a clear path ahead of her.

Set down for the drive home, Honey Bunny rallied down the middle of the lane and steadily reeled in the battling duo of Upset Brewing and Astrollinthepark. Getting up inside the final 1/16, Honey Bunny cruised past her foes late to win by 1 1/2 lengths in a final time of 1:09.99 for the 6-furlong sprint over the fast main track.

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“She is such a classy mare,” Baze said. “She came into this race in great shape by John and his team. She simply knows how to find the winner’s circle. It really doesn’t matter what level of competition. We sort of let the speed go today and it set up perfect for us to close late.”

Astrollinthepark looked like a winner off of the far turn but flattened out late and couldn’t hold off the eventual winner. She ultimately necked out second over Upset Brewing, who at 20/1 tried her best to live up to her name but just couldn’t get it done this time. Behind her, Divine Queen headed Classy Act for fourth, with Let It Ride Mom and Awestruck each a neck back in sixth and seventh, respectively.

AnnathelaShe’s a GypsyQuick Quick QuickSuzette, and Salt Bae completed the order of finish.

Credit: Coady Photography

Honey Bunny’s win was her fifth straight, with the prior four all coming in starter allowance events, and her first in a graded stakes event, having finished seventh in her only other attempt, last summer’s Groupie Doll Stakes (G3). The 5-year-old daughter of Tapizar has now earned $417,145 and improved career record to 31-14-5-4, including 14-8-1-2 since joining Ortiz’s barn for co-owners Hooties Racing, WSS Racing, and 4G Racing.

“It’s so thrilling to win this stakes race for these owners,” Ortiz said. “When we claimed her, we thought she would be pretty special. Now five wins in a row, and this one in the Winning Colors, really proved she’s the real deal. This is a huge win for our stable.”

Honey Bunny returned $8.80 to win, $5 to place, and $4.20 to show. Astrollinthepark brought back $7.60 to place and $5.80 to show, while Upset Brewing paid $9.40 to show.

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