Well Monied made it look easy in her stakes debut, taking over in upper stretch and sprinting home for an impressive 1 1/4-length victory in the $150,000 Honeymoon Handicap (gr. IIT) (VIDEO) May 31 on the Hollywood Park turf.
A good-looking 3-year-old filly by Maria's Mon, Well Monied served notice that she will be a force to be reckoned with during the second half of the season in California, as she was much the best against eight more seasoned rivals. The Howie Zucker trainee has now won three in a row.
Under the superb handling of jockey Joel Rosario, Well Monied waited patiently while racing seventh through the backstretch of the 1 1/8-mile contest. Pride Dancer took the field around the turf course in splits of :22.97, :47.02 and 1:11.17, with Dash Dot Dash pressing her the whole way.
Those two were noses apart as they made their way into the stretch, but Well Monied had drawn closer around the turn and was in perfect three-wide striking position when they hit the eighth-pole. The gray/roan filly easily took over from the leaders in upper stretch and held off a late bid by Acting Lady inside the sixteenth-pole.
Sent off as the 7-5 favorite, Well Monied stopped the clock in 1:48.35 on the firm turf. Acting Lady, the second choice under Rafael Bejarano, was 1 3/4 lengths better than third-place Lexlenos and Alex Solis. Century Park was fourth.
"After her last two wins I had a lot of confidence," said Rosario, who won three races on the card. "They were going fast up front and I could see everything from where I was. I had to ask her to run before the three-eighths pole so we wouldn't get caught too wide. She was running real comfortably at the top of the stretch and I had a lot of horse left."
Owned by C.T. Grether, Well Monied took four tries to win her first start, but after breaking her maiden on March 28 at Santa Anita, she won a one-mile optional claimer by 1 3/4-lengths May 2 on the Hollywood grass.
Bred in Kentucky by Occidental Thoroughbreds, Well Monied is out of the Quiet American mare Queen of America. The $100,000 yearling is now 3-0-0 from six starts and has earned $155,700.
“She’s a really honest filly," Zucker said. "I don't know that there’s a prettier mover on the lawn in this division. Who’s going to the American Oaks? I don’t know that I’m going. It’s not so much who’s going, but I have to see how my filly is. She’s kind of a thin type.
"She seemed to take this like it was nothing. She wasn’t even blowing when she got back. I love it. She’s perhaps the best-acting horse I’ve ever had in my barn. She’s just so placid and mellow and aims to please all the time. She’s a pleasure to train."
The winner paid $4.80, $3 and $2.40. The $1 exacta (9-8) returned $9.50 and the $1 trifecta (9-8-4) was $126.