- Road to the Kentucky Derby
- Racing & Wagering
Rose to Gold tastes sweet victory in Honeybee
Kathleen Amaya and Raffaele Centofanti's Rose to Gold took command of the Grade 3, $150,000 Honeybee at Oaklawn Park on Saturday and turned back the pressing 2-5 favorite Flashy Gray to post a 2 3/4-length victory under jockey Calvin Borel. The Sal Santoro-trained daughter of Friends Lake set all the pace in the 1 1/16-mile contest before stopping the clock in 1:45 on the fast Oaklawn dirt.
"Hiring Borel was a no brainer and I just know this filly so well," Santoro said of the jockey switch. "I've had her from the beginning and I know what she needs. All our plans paid off today. Calvin and I met this morning and came up with a strategy, but in the end, I told him 'Just ride your race.'
"We'll know more in the morning, but we may go on back to Florida and train up to the (Grade 1) Kentucky Oaks."
There was a slight delay when Sister Ginger reared up and banged her head in the gate, but not long after that filly was reloaded the doors sprung. Rose to Gold headed straight for the front but found Flashy Gray keeping in close attendance just to her outside through splits of :23 3/5, :47 3/5 and 1:13.
Rounding the final turn, Flashy Gray drew even with Rose to Gold but the chestnut lass shook loose in the lane to pull off her second graded win. She paid $12.60, $3.40 and $2.80 as the 5-1 second choice while boosting her bankroll to $477,889.
"We had planned on sitting right off the pace, but she broke so sharp," Borel explained his ride. "She has a lot of wind. She took it to them. That other one (Flashy Gray) is a nice filly. I had seen her races. Mike (Smith) tried to come to me at the three-eighths pole, but my filly pulled away. I knew we would be double tough. She came home strong."
Flashy Gray was easily best of the rest, 10 1/4 lengths clear of American Sugar, while Liberty Girl filled out the top four another length behind. Sittin at the Bar just missed the superfecta by a neck and was followed under the wire by Broken Spell, Sister Ginger and Flash Forward. Awesome Mama was withdrawn.
"She ran great. It was her first time around two turns and the winner already had a lot of bottom. That made the difference. You'll hear a lot from her," jockey Mike Smith asserted about Flashy Gray.
Rose to Gold was making her second start of the year in this spot, having previously run second in the local Martha Washington to 19-1 upsetter Sister Ginger. She entered that mile contest following a half-length victory in the Grade 3 Delta Downs Princess on November 17, and suffered the only unplaced run of her career when a subpar 12th in the Grade 1 Alcibiades over Keeneland's synthetic Polytrack last October.
Rose to Gold opened her career at Calder, posting double-digit wins in a pair of stakes, the Lindsay Frolic and Brave Raj, and now boasts a 4-1-0 mark from six lifetime starts.
Bred in Kentucky by Joe Sr., Joe Jr., John and Karen Mulholland, Rose to Gold was a bargain when selling for only $1,400 as a Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Winter Mixed yearling then RNAing at $10,000 as an OBS yearling in August 2011.
She is out of the unraced Tabasco Cat mare Saucy, who counts as a full brother Grade 2-placed winner Sun Cat. Rose to Gold's fourth dam is Group 3 queen El Mina, whose descendants include Group 1 star Caitano, Group 2 hero Utmost Respect and Group 3 scorers El Fabulous, Steppe Dancer, St Mawes and Artic Envoy.