Junior Alvarado sent Honey I’m Good to the front and never looked back in the Harmony Lodge Stakes
Almost Heaven Stables’ Honey I’m Good rewarded the patience of her connections, wiring a nine-horse field in her stakes debut for a one-length score in the $80,000 Harmony Lodge on Friday at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y.
Trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, Honey I’m Good finished in the money in eight of her first nine career starts before taking the step up in class. The 4-year-old Shackleford filly used her natural speed to break sharp under jockey Junior Alvarado, leading the field through an opening quarter-mile in 22.49 seconds and the half in 45.82 on the muddy and sealed main track.
Honey I’m Good continued to press on out of the turn, repelling Royal Charlotte’s bid from the inside and continuing strong to the wire, completing six furlongs in a 1:10.87 final time.
Off at 5-1, Honey I’m Good returned $12.80 on a $2 win bet. She improved her career earnings to $235,553.
“My filly was the only one with real speed,” Alvarado said. “There were a couple horses with tactical speed, so I only had one plan. I was hoping she would break like she did and after that we just cruised along. I put her on the lead and let her be comfortable and hopefully have a little left to finish at the end. The plan worked today.
“Even with a normal break I would have sent her pretty hard. The way the track is playing, that was my best chance,” added Alvarado. “This was a tougher group than the last time. I rated and sat second last time, but this was a different group today, so my only chance was to take advantage of her speed.”
Honey I’m Good, who won her debut at Belmont in October 2018, improved to 2-for-2 on Big Sandy. She also won for the second straight time, racing for the first time since besting allowance company on March 13 at Aqueduct Racetrack.
“I was hoping for rain and we got a sealed track. She loves that,” said Toby Sheets, assistant to Asmussen. “Everything went our way. She’s a cool little horse. The time off probably did her good. She’s little, so we have to space her races out. She’s runs big every time though.”
Royal Charlotte, trained by Chad Brown, finished three-quarters of a length in front of the John Kimmel-trained Pacific Gale for second.
Mother Mother, Last True Love, Piedi Bianchi, Slimey, Nisha and Gypsy Janie completed the order of finish. Chalon was scratched.
Live racing resumes Saturday with an 11-race card highlighted by the Grade 1, $250,000 Runhappy Carter, offering a berth to the Breeders’ Cup Sprint in November. The card will also feature the G2, $150,000 Fort Marcy for 4-year-olds and up on the inner turf; the G3, $100,000 Westchester for 4-year-olds and up going 1 1/16 miles on the main track; and the G3, $100,000 Intercontinental for older fillies and mares going seven furlongs on the Widener turf.
The lucrative card will also feature a mandatory payout in the Empire 6, which boasts a jackpot of $101,473. The sequence kicks off in Race 6 at 3:59 p.m. Eastern.
First post is 1:15 p.m. with live coverage via America’s Day at the Races on FOX Sports and MSG+.
New to the Paulick Report? Click here to sign up for our daily email newsletter to keep up on this and other stories happening in the Thoroughbred industry.
Copyright © 2020 Paulick Report.