ELMONT, NY – Even-money favorite New Money Honey showed a new dimension wiring the field in the fourth running of the Grade 3, $200,000 Wonder Again for 3-year-old fillies on the first day of the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival presented by NYRA Bets Thursday at Belmont Park.
The Wonder Again was the first of 18 total stakes totaling more than $9 million for the three-day festival from June 8-10, culminating with the 149th running of the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes on Saturday.
Owned by eFive Racing Thoroughbreds, New Money Honey broke alertly and surged to the front, setting fractions of :24.44 and :49.09. Out of the final turn, the Chad Brown trainee extended her lead on Dream Dancing and outkicked her stablemate – a hard-charging Fifty Five – in the final furlong for the 2-length victory. She completed 1 1/8 miles on the inner turf in 1:48.01.
“There wasn’t much speed and, out of our three horses, she was the fastest, so we figured we’d send one out there and let everyone go along,” said Brown, who saddled the top two finishers and fifth-place Enchanting Kitten.”Since she was the fastest of the three horses, we sent her out to the lead, and we’re happy with how she handled it. She ran very well.”
As a 2-year-old, New Money Honey won the Grade 3 Miss Grillo and the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf from off the pace.
“Heading into the race and looking at the field, I didn’t see too many horses that could keep up with her,” said jockey Javier Castellano, who has been aboard for all of New Money Honey’s starts. “My plan was to just dictate the pace and go to the lead. She was much the best. I give all the credit to Mr. Brown. The way he’s been training that filly, I just enjoyed the ride.”
New Money Honey increased her career earnings to $807,017 while improving to 2-for-2 at Belmont Park and 3-1-0 overall.
Fifty Five has finished on the board in all seven of her career starts, handling the stretch-out in distance for the first time.
“I thought Fifty Five ran a much better race this time,” Brown said. “She got a better trip today. She was more forwardly placed today because there wasn’t enough speed. I was very encouraged with how she ran, and it looks like she’ll improve with longer distances, as well. I wanted all three of them to adapt to the pace and be there as far as they can. And they all were closer than they normally are.”
Dream Dancing, one of two entries for trainer Mark Casse, was third. Coasted, Enchanting Kitten, and Corporate Queen completed the order of finish. Bonita Bianca, entered for the main-track only, was scratched.
New Money Honey returned $4.10, $3.30, and $2.20. Fifty Five brought back $5.70 and $3, while Dream Dancing paid $2.20 to show.