Batique Draws Clear in Honey Fox; Keats an Undercard Winner

Jockey Jorge Chavez guided 6-year-old mare Batique to her second straight grade III turf stakes win in Friday's $100,000 Honey Fox Handicap at Gulfstream Park. In her final 2000 start, Batique scored a half-length win over Please Sign In in Calder's My Charmer Handicap (gr. IIIT).

Batique waited patiently in mid-pack through the early going as Alybgood and Wander Mom set a dawdling pace on the firm turf course. She edged closer to the lead approaching the stretch, then accelerated though the lane to earn the 2 3/4-length victory. My Sweet Westly came home second, followed by Silver Bandana, All Spades, Zeiting, Wander Mom, Windsong, and Alybgood.

Helen K. Groves' homebred Batique completed the 1 1/16 miles in 1:49.32 to earn her seventh win from 24 career starts and her third stakes win. Aside from her two latest victories, she also set a course record at Monmouth Park when winning the Vinery Matchmaker Stakes (gr. IIIT) in June. Michael R. Matz-trained Batique (Storm Cat--Serape, by Fappiano) earned $60,000 for the win to bring her career earnings total just under $400,000.

The 13-10 favorite returned $4.60 for the win and topped a $41 exacta.

Earlier on the card, Henry E. Pabst's Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. II) winner Keats went wire-to-wire to win a 1 1/16-mile "non-winners of three other than" allowance by 10 1/4 lengths. Ridden by Chavez, the 4-year-old son of Hennessy completed the distance in 1:45.32 on a fast track. Trained by Niall O'Callaghan, Keats has now won four of 13 starts. Keats was sent off at odds of 3-10 and paid $2.60 for the win. (Charts, Equibase)