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HOT SPRINGS, AR – Willis Horton Racing homebred Will’s Secret was a sharp front-running winner as the 2/1 favorite in Saturday’s $300,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) at Oaklawn Park.
Will’s Secret broke from post 2 as the 2/1 favorite under Jon Court and challenged the rail-breaking Tabor Hall for the early lead while setting tepid opening fractions of :24.25, :49.70, and 1:14.49.
Dispatching of Tabor Hall in the far turn, the Dallas Stewart-trained Will’s Secret held off stretch bids from Sun Path and Pauline’s Pearl to win the 1 1/16-mile fast dirt route by 3/4 of a length in 1:44.61.
“She broke really well today and we weren’t pressured early on,” Court said. “She was comfortable on the front end and able to dictate a moderate, easy pace. Therefore, I was able to have plenty of horse to finish with, and when I called on her, she was full of run down the stretch. It just worked out very favorably today. I want to thank the Hortons and trainer Dallas Stewart.”
Pauline’s Pearl outkicked Sun Path for second by 3/4 of a length. Oliviaofthedesert, Coach, Tabor Hall, and Willful Woman completed the order of finish.
Absolute Anna was scratched.
The Honeybee is part of the Road to the 2021 Kentucky Oaks (G1) prep race season. Will’s Secret earned 50 points for the win, with Pauline’s Pearl receiving 20 for second, Sun Path 10 for third, and Oliviaofthedesert 5 for fourth.
Will’s Secret’s win was her third straight following a maiden-breaking effort at Fair Grounds and the local Martha Washington Stakes last time out. The daughter of Will Take Charge (the 2013 Champion 3-Year-Old owned by Willis Horton Racing) improved her record to 6-3-0-2 with $343,300 earned.
“It was a great ride,” Stewart said. “She loves that track. She showed a little more versatility, that she can be on the lead and finish it off and that’s really good to have in a racehorse. I just told (Court) to stay out of her mouth, let her break away from there, and get around that first turn. I think that’s important at Oaklawn. You’ve got to get around that first turn and be in good shape. Looks like we’ve got that down. She just coasted home from there.”
Will’s Secret returned $6.20 to win, $4.40 to place, and $3 to show. Pauline’s Pearl brought back $11 to place and $5.60 to show. Sun Path paid $3.20 to show.
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