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Honey Ryder tunes up for FM Turf with Flower Bowl win.
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Pletcher Roll Continues as Honey Ryder Wins Flower Bowl

With entries in eight stakes races as part of Saturday's last big day of preps for the Breeders' Cup World Championships, trainer Todd Pletcher got the day off to a winning start as he won the first two grade I races on the Belmont Park card.

After being represented by Fleet Indian in the winner's circle of the Beldame, Pletcher got his second win when Glencrest Farm's Honey Ryder posted a facile nose victory over Film Maker in the Flower Bowl Invitational Handicap (gr. IT).

Jade Queen, also trained by Pletcher, assumed the early lead in the 1 ΒΌ-mile inner turf test, followed by Argentina and Film Maker through moderate fractional times of :24 4/5, :50 1/5, and 1:14 4/5 for the first three-quarters of a mile. The field bunched up leaving the second turn as Honey Ryder, Film Maker, and Jade Queen emerged at the top of the pack. Those three battled gamely through the stretch, with Honey Ryder on top at the wire. The final time was 2:02 2/5.

Honey Ryder paid $6.70, $3.10, and $2.80, with Film Maker returning $2.70 and $2.20, and Jade Queen worth $3.90.

With her fourth victory in her last five starts, Honey Ryder will move on to Churchill Downs as one of the leading contenders in the $2 million Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT) at 11 furlongs.

"It was my fault that she didn't run better in her last race," said Pletcher, referring to a fourth by Honey Ryder in the Beverly D (gr. iT) at Arlington Park. "I told Johnny (Velazquez) not to get too far out of it because it was a paceless race on paper. He was where I told him I wanted her to be, which diminished her late kick a little. We were focused on getting her covered up today, regardless of what the pace was. She basically has one, small blemish on her record and, like I said, that was my fault. She's been awfully good all year."

"She ran great," trainer H. Graham Motion said of Film Maker's race. "It's hard to be disappointed when they run like that. She just needs the race to be a little longer, like a mile and a half. She gets run off her feet a little in these shorter races. Hopefully, we can go back to the Breeders' Cup again and improve on her second and third there."

Pletcher said Jade Queen may also go on to the Breeders' Cup.

"Jade Queen ran huge," Pletcher said. "That's what we were hoping to do - take advantage of a slow pace. She ran a huge race for a 3-year-old filly running against the lineup that was in there today."

A 5-year-old daughter of Lasting Approval, Honey Ryder has now won 12 of 26 lifetime starts and earned $1,523,310. The mare was bred in Kentucky by Wimborne Farm.

(Chart, Equibase)