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ELMONT, NY – Returning fresh from a victory in mid-March, Almost Heaven Stables’ Honey I’m Good struck the front early and never relented en route to wiring Friday’s $80,000 Harmony Lodge Stakes at Belmont Park.
Breaking swiftly from post 3 under Junior Alvarado at 5/1 odds, Honey I’m Good went straight to the lead and ran uncontested in the early going. With Nisha giving closest chase while in the clear behind her, Honey I’m Good posted opening fractions of :22.49 and :45.82.
Still in command as she straightened for home, Honey I’m Good continued cruising ahead of her competition while Pacific Gale and Royal Charlotte loomed the biggest threats. Alvarado kept Honey I’m Good to task the length of the stretch, and the Steve Asmussen trainee responded willingly despite drifting slightly in mid-stretch.
Honey I’m Good crossed the wire 1 length clear in a final time of 1:10.87 for the 6-furlong muddy (sealed) main track sprint.
“My filly was the only one with real speed,” said Alvarado, who won three of Friday’s ten races. “There were a couple horses with tactical speed, so I only had one plan I was hoping she would break like she did, and after that, we just cruised along. I put her on the lead and let her be comfortable and hopefully have a little left to finish at the end. The plan worked today.”
Despite cutting the corner and making her move off of the far turn, the 7/5 co-favorite Royal Charlotte was not strong enough to catch the loose-on-the-lead front-runner. She crossed second by 3/4 of a length over Pacific Gale, who ran wide off of the turn and into the stretch but flattened out once straightened.
For the second straight race, Mother Mother (the other co-7/5 favorite) faltered when exiting the gate, this time leaving slowly and having to trail the field during the early running. She could only muster a narrow fourth-place effort by a head over Last True Love, while Piedi Bianchi and Slimey followed close behind them for sixth and seventh, respectively.
A spent Nisha and a non-threatening Gypsy Janie completed the order of finish. Chalon was scratched.
Honey I’m Good’s win came in her stakes debut and was her second straight following a 2 1/4-length victory in a 6-furlong optional claiming event at Aqueduct in mid-March. The Florida-bred 4-year-old Shackleford filly improved her record to 10-5-1-3 with $235,553 earned.
“I was hoping for rain and we got a sealed track,” said Asmussen’s assistant Toby Sheets. “Everything went our way. She’s a cool little horse. The time off probably did her good. She’s little, so we have to space her races out. She runs big every time, though.”
Honey I’m Good returned $12.80 to win, $5.20 to place, and $4.10 to show. Royal Charlotte brought back $3.40 to place and $2.80 to show, while Pacific Gale paid $7.50 to show.
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