Ashbrook Farm's Southern Honey and jockey Julien Leparoux took advantage of a quick pace set by Socialbug to take charge in the stretch and post a facile victory in the $100,000 Winning Colors Stakes (gr. III) (VIDEO) at Churchill Downs May 26.
The 3-year-old daughter of Colonel John was comfortably settled into third early as Miguel Mena took Socialbug, tracked by Warm Breeze, through early fractions of :21.57 and :44.40. Apropos, the 19-10 favorite ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan coming off a third-place effort in the Madison Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland, got off to a slow start and was bumped early in the race.
As the field turned for home in the one-turn six-furlong test for fillies and mares, Southern Honey had moved confidently into second in the middle of the track and steadily made up ground under a hand ride by Leparoux.
With the jockey only showing the filly the stick once, the pair strode to the finish, winning by 1 1/2 lengths in final time of 1:08.67. The track record for the distance of 1:07.55 was set by Indian Chant on July 8, 2007 and this year's time was the third-fasting clocking in the history of the race that honors the filly who prevailed against colts in the 1988 Kentucky Derby (gr. I).
Southern Honey paid $10.20, $6.80, and $6.20, with Socialbug returning $8.60 and $6.60 They combined for a $103.80 exacta and longshot Warm Breeze holding third at $10.60. The order was completed by Cozze Up Lady, Apropos, Aireofdistinction, Jamaican Smoke, Sweet Cassiopeia, and Anahauc.
Bred in Kentucky by Mandy Pope's Whisper Hill Farm, Southern Honey twice went through the auction ring. Consigned by Sweezey & Partners to the 2011 Keeneland November breeding stock sale as a weanling, the filly was purchased by McMahon & Hill Bloodstock. Pinhooked by Hidden Brook on behalf of Spruce Lane Farm to the 2012 Keeneland September yearling sale, she was purchased by Ashbrook for $180,000.
With the Winning Colors victory, Southern Honey has won three of her five starts, with one second, and earnings of $150,017. Second and fourth, respectively, in her first two starts at age 2, the filly broke her maiden in a 5 3/4-length romp at Keeneland on April 5 of this year and rolled to a five-length triumph in allowance company at Churchill May 2.