HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Claiborne Farm and Adele B. Dilschneider’s homebred filly Lull set seriously swift fractions early, then held on tightly at the end to successfully wire Saturday’s Grade 3, $250,000 Honey Fox Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
Away successfully from post 2 under Jose Ortiz, Lull secured command heading into the first turn and set off through sharp splits of :22.44, :45.06, and 1:08.56. Under steady urging down the stretch, Lull’s lead gradually slipped in the final furlong, but the Christophe Clement trainee dug in her heels and held on just long enough to take the mile-long turf event by a nose over Res Ipsa in a final time of 1:33.14.
“Christophe told me she has speed and just not to take a big hold, and if she wants to be there (on the lead), let her be there,” Ortiz said. “We were expecting softer fractions than that, but she was going fast but very relaxed. That was important in getting home.”
The 2-1 favorite On Leave took third, just a 1/2-length behind the winner. Island Reward necked out fourth over Stormy Victoria, with Grizzel, Team of Teams, Glory to Kitten, and Conquest Hardcandy completing the order of finish.
Lull’s win came in her first start of 2018 and improved her record to 13-5-3-1 with career earnings of $822,857. The 4-year-old daughter of War Front scored her second graded stakes victory following the Grade 3 Autumn Miss Stakes at Santa Anita last October. Her connections noted that she could be heading north to New York for a race on Belmont Stakes Day in mid-June.
“Jose is a great rider, that’s why he rides so much for us,” Clement said. “We were a touch worried because it was her first time back, but we knew she was big enough to win. She’s top class. 6, 7 furlongs, a mile is probably her best. She’s a wonderful filly to be around.”
Lull returned $8.60 to win, $4.60 to place, and $3.60 to show. Res Ipsa brought back $12.40 to place and $6.20 to show, while On Leave paid $2.80 to show.