Seven 3-year-old fillies, led by probable favorite Just Jenda, will try to earn their first grades stakes victory in the $100,000 Honeybee Stakes (gr. III) March 15 at Oaklawn Park.
Just Jenda, trained by Larry Jones for his wife, Cindy, was a soundly-beaten favorite in the Feb. 7 Silverbulletday (gr. III) last out at Fair Grounds. The Menifee filly will carry top weight of 122 pounds in the 1 1/16-mile Honeybee, which is the feature of Oaklawn’s 10-race program.
Bred in Kentucky by Lavin Bloodstock Services, Just Jenda was never in serious contention during the Silverbulletday, which was won by War Echo. The chestnut had looked solid when winning the Tiffany Lass Stakes Jan. 10 at Fair Grounds, her sophomore debut.
Just Jenda, who is out of the Pine Bluff mare Liberty School, also won the Brandywine Stakes at Philadelphia Park by nine lengths as a 2-year-old. She will be ridden by Gabriel Saez in the Honeybee.
The other dual stakes winner in the field is Bon Jovi Girl, who is trained and co-owned by Tim Ritchey. The Malibu Moon filly won the Fairrway and Blue Hen stakes at Delaware Park as a juvenile, and began her 2009 season on a winning note by taking an optional claimer by nearly three lengths Feb. 26 at Oaklawn.
Bob Jovi Girl was fourth in the grade I Darley Alcibiades on Keeneland’s Polytrack last year. Regular rider Jose Caraballo will have the assignment.
A pair of fillies entering off impressive allowance wins will go to post. Be Fair, trained by D. Wayne Lukas, did not race as a 2-year-old but is undefeated in two starts this year. The daughter of Exchange Rate scored by more than four lengths in a one-mile optional claimer at Oaklawn Feb. 15. She was bred in Florida.
Hightap broke her maiden by 9 1/4 lengths Jan. 17 at Fair Grounds and last month followed that up with a good-looking allowance win over the same track while going off at odds of 1-5. Steve Asmussen trains the Tapit filly.
The other three starters come out of the Feb. 15 Martha Washington at Oaklawn, a race in which leading Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) candidate Rachel Alexandra romped by eight lengths. Afleet Deceit and Peach Brew finished second and third, respectively, in the race, and were separated by only a nose. My Spanx finished well back in seventh.
Post time for the Honeybee is set for 5:11 p.m. CDT.