Farnsworth Stables’ 6-year-old mare Cherokee Queen and Mrs. Paul Shanahan’s 4-year-old Irish-bred filly Justaroundmidnight each have won a graded stakes over the Gulfstream Park turf course at the current meet, and should be among the favorites in a field of 13 drawn for the $100,000 Honey Fox Stakes (gr. IIIT).
Jockey Alex Solis gets the return call on Cherokee Queen for trainer Marty Wolfson after they teamed up for a two-length victory in the Suwannee River Stakes (gr. IIIT) Feb. 5 after a good try finishing fourth in the Marshua’s River Stakes (gr. IIIT) the month before.
Among several good efforts last year, the daughter of Cherokee Run won the Dr. James Penny Memorial Handicap at Philadelphia Park in early July after finishing an unlucky fourth in the Just a Game Stakes (gr. IT) on Belmont Stakes Day when beaten only 1 1/4 lengths by multiple grade I winner Proviso.
Cherokee Queen was pegged as the 7-2 morning-line favorite.
Justaroundmidnight won the Marshua’s River at odds of 26-1 in her first start since late June at Monmouth Park for trainer Patrick Biancone. The Irish-bred daughter of Danehill Dancer came back against male rivals in the Gulfstream Turf Handicap (gr. IT) Feb. 5 and finished eighth, although beaten only 3 1/4 lengths in an even effort. Jockey Edgar Prado has the mount.
Other leading contenders in a competitive one-mile race include Team Block’s 6-year-old Never Retreat with Julien Leparoux in the saddle for trainer Chris Block, and John Velazquez to ride Peter Fuller’s 4-year-old filly Trip for A. J. for trainer Milt Wolfson.
Never Retreat finished a game third in the Marshua’s River, beaten three-quarters of a length by Justaroundmidnight, and second behind Cherokee Queen in the Suwannee River. Trip for A. J. also has a stakes victory over the Gulfstream course at the meet with a half-length victory in the Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf on Jan. 29.
Wolfson holds a strong hand with Cherokee Queen and will have the probable favorite if weather conditions were to force the race to the main track with Farnsworth’s 6-year-old Amazing entered to run ‘main track only’ with Luis Saez named to ride. The daughter of Greatness finished a game second in the Jan. 29 Sunshine Millions Distaff at Santa Anita, beaten only three-quarters of a length by Evening Jewel.
$150,000 Honey Fox Stakes (gr. IIIT, Race 10, 5:25 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 4 & Up, One Mile (Turf) PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer 1. Justaroundmidnight (IRE), E S Prado, 121, P L Biancone
2. Sweeter Still (IRE), E Trujillo, 117, M J Trombetta
3. Unbridled Essence (FL), J Lezcano, 121, G D Sacco
4. Firey Red (IRE), R Maragh, 117, C Clement
5. Trip for A. J. (FL), J R Velazquez, 119, M W Wolfson
6. Cherokee Queen (KY), A O Solis, 121, M D Wolfson
7. Aviate (GB), K J Desormeaux, 121, W I Mott
8. Never Retreat (KY), J R Leparoux, 119, C M Block
9. Persuading (KY), J L Castanon, 117, D L Romans
10. Sweetest Song (KY), E Wilson, 117, C A Nafzger
11. Bay to Bay (FL), J Castellano, 117, B A Lynch
12. Ansong (KY), C H Marquez Jr., 117, M J Trombetta
13. Miss Blakely (ON), L Saez, 119, J F Orseno
14. Amazing (FL) (MTO), L Saez, 117, M D Wolfson