Chad Brown was holding out hope that the version of New Money Honey he saw during her seasonal debut was an aberration.
Not only did the daughter of Medaglia d'Oro ease Brown's mind with a return to her top form in the June 8 Wonder Again Stakes (G3T), but she showed her Eclipse Award-winning trainer some new dimensions to her already impressive game.
New Money Honey took matters into her own hands and made amends for an off-the-board outing in her first test this season when she delivered a gate-to-wire score in the $200,000 Wonder Again at Belmont Park.
The 2016 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1T) winner was hindered by some lack of pace to close into during her first start of 2017, a sixth-place finish behind winner La Coronel in the April 13 Appalachian Stakes Presented by Japan Racing Association (G3T) at Keeneland. With little speed showing up in the entry box for the six-horse Wonder Again field, Brown wasn't going to let the big-bodied filly be the victim of the same issue twice.
Sent off as the even-money choice in the 1 1/8-mile test, New Money Honey was in control of her own fate throughout, as she cut fractions of :24.44 and :49.09 under jockey Javier Castellano. When graded stakes winner Dream Dancing advanced from rating second and tried to pull even with the pacesetter on the far turn, New Money Honey spurted away and had no serious challenge in the lane as she bounded under the wire two lengths in front of stablemate Fifty Five.
"There wasn't much speed and, out of our three horses, she was the fastest," said Brown, who also saddled fifth-place finisher Enchanting Kitten. "So we figured we'd send one out there and let everyone go along. Since she was the fastest of the three horses, we sent her out to the lead and we're happy with how she handled it. She ran very well."
The Appalachian has been the lone off outing in New Money Honey's five-race career. After running second to La Coronel in her debut at Saratoga Race Course in September, the bay filly took the Miss Grillo Stakes (G3T) at Belmont Oct. 2 prior to her half-length Breeders' Cup triumph.
Owned by e Five Racing Thoroughbreds, New Money Honey covered the Wonder Again distance in 1:48.01 over the firm inner turf. Dream Dancing faded to third in her fifth start this year, with Coasted, runner-up in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, fourth. Corporate Queen finished last in the compact field.
New Money Honey paid $4.10, $3.30, and $2.20 across the board to earn her third win and boosted her earnings to $807,017. Out of the Distorted Humor mare Weekend Whim, she was bred in Kentucky by WinStar Farm and purchased by Mike Ryan, agent, for $450,000 at the 2015 Keeneland September yearling sale.
The seven-furlong Intercontinental Stakes (G3T) contested later on the card saw Mark Casse trainee Mississippi Delta notch her first graded victory when she got up in deep stretch and then held off fellow closer Conquest Babayaga by a head.
Owned by breeder Mike Rutherford and Terry Green, Mississippi Delta was winless in her previous nine graded stakes tries, including a fourth-place finish in the May 6 Churchill Downs Turf Mile Stakes Presented by Longines (G2T). After rating mid-pack through fractions of :22.80 and :45.38, the daughter of Giant's Causeway spun out four-wide into the lane to set up her late drive and improved her record to seven wins from 19 starts with $727,138 in earnings.
The final time for the test was 1:20.05 over a course rated firm.
Earlier in the day, I Still Miss You popped out of the gate on top and zipped to a 2 1/4-length victory in the $150,000 Astoria for 2-year-old fillies. It was the second win in as many starts for the Majestic Warrior filly, who broke her maiden in frontrunning fashion facing New York-breds May 11 for owners Gold Star Racing Stable, Matthew Hand, and Brian McKenzie.