Undefeated Amy’s Challenge takes on six rivals Saturday in Oaklawn Park’s $200,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) as the dark bay miss attempts two turns for the first time.
The Honeybee is part of the Championship portion of the Road to the Kentucky Oaks and awards 50-20-10-5 points to the respective top four finishers toward a starting berth in the May 4 Kentucky Oaks (G1).
Amy’s Challenge will be stretching out to 1 1/16 miles in the contest for trainer McLean Robertson. The dark bay daughter of Artie Schiller opened her career with a 16-length romp against the boys in a 5 1/2-furlong Canterbury Park maiden last August 6 and returned at that track to record a three-quarter length victory against both boys and girls in the September 16 Shakopee Juvenile Stakes going six furlongs.
Amy’s Challenge remained at that six-furlong distance for her sophomore debut, a neck score in the Dixie Belle Stakes at Oaklawn on January 20, and keeps regular pilot Jareth Loveberry in the saddle.
Red Ruby dropped her initial start, a one-mile contest at Churchill Downs in October, before scoring by 3 1/2 lengths in a 1 1/16-mile maiden special weight under the Twin Spires a month later to conclude her juvenile campaign for trainer Kellyn Gorder. The Tiznow filly returned to action on February 10 at Oaklawn and captured the Martha Washington Stakes by 2 1/2 lengths most recently. Jockey Robby Albarado has ridden the Kentucky-bred in all three of her starts thus far and has the call.
Sassy Sienna and Cosmic Burst finished second and third, respectively, behind Red Ruby in the Martha Washington, and the duo line back up here.
Sassy Sienna, a Brad Cox-trained daughter of Midshipman, entered the Martha Washington off a 9 1/2-length win against allowance/optional claiming rivals at Oaklawn on January 15. The Donnie Von Hemel-conditioned Cosmic Burst, who is by Violence, made her seasonal debut in the Martha Washington off a 5 1/4-length triumph in the Trapeze Stakes at Remington Park over both Sassy Sienna and Stronger Than Ever.
Gary Stevens rides Sassy Sienna while Richard Eramia pilots Cosmic Burst.
Stronger Than Ever ships in from Fair Grounds for the Honeybee following a 33-1 upset in the Silverbulletday Stakes at Fair Grounds. The Kenny McPeek trainee rallied for the neck win in that mile-and-70-yard affair on January 13, and gets Ricardo Santana Jr. holding the reins for the first time here.
Last-out allowance/optional claiming winner Bo Peep and recent maiden-claiming romper Rahway round out the Honeybee field.