Jockey Joe Johnson angled High Heels off the rail to squeeze through an opening coming off the final turn and the Kentucky-bred daughter of E Dubai proved much the best while gaining her first stakes win. The final time for the 1 1/16-mile test was 1:44 2/5.
Cotton Blossom, the 1-2 choice in the field of eight following a two-length win in the Florida Oaks to begin her 2007 campaign last month at Tampa Bay Downs, settled for second after gaining the lead on the far turn for John Velazquez. California invader Cash Included rallied mildly to finish third with Alex Solis aboard.
Trained by Gary Hartlage, High Heels ran second at odds of 2-1 to Fantasy foe Time's Mistress in the 1 1/16-mile Honeybee over the Oaklawn main track March 16 after encountering traffic trouble on the far turn. Sent off at odds of 9-1, the bay filly has won two of three starts at the Arkansas track. After taking five starts to break her maiden in the mud at Churchill Downs last fall, High Heels improved her overall record to 3-2-3 in 10 starts with earnings of $266,648.
High Heels is out of the Gilded Time mare Ornate.
Johnson took High Heels back to seventh after breaking from the rail as Jay's Princess (:22 2/5) and Devil House (:46 1/5) set a hot early pace. Devil House continued to lead after six furlongs in 1:12 1/5, but Velazquez, prompting the pace aboard the favorite throughout, was closing in and soon seized the advantage as the other leaders dropped back. High Heels, moving into contention along the inside on the turn, slid between horses to gain position three wide on the outside of Cotton Blossom. After dueling briefly with Cotton Blossom, she gained control and kicked clear approaching the furlong pole to win without a challenge while paying $21, $5.80 and $3.80.
The Todd Pletcher trained Cotton Blossom, third in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) and also second in Saratoga's Spinaway (gr. I) last year, returned $2.40 and $2.20 while finishing nearly two lengths in front of Cash Included. The $2 exacta was $53.60.
Cash Included, escaping the shadow of Rags to Riches in California for trainer Craig Dollase, paid $2.60.
It was 1 1/4 lengths to fourth-place finisher Swift Temper. She was followed by Time's Mistress, Devil House, Tensas Yucatan and Jay's Princess.