With a well-judged ride by Javier Castellano, e Five Racing Thoroughbreds’ New Money Honey got the jump on stablemates Sistercharlie and Uni in Saturday’s $1 million Belmont Oaks Invitational (G1), thereby spearheading a trifecta for trainer Chad Brown.
Last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) heroine became the third straight winner of that race to add the Belmont Oaks, after stablemate Lady Eli (2015) and Catch a Glimpse (2016). New Money Honey also kicked off a double for Breeders’ Cup scorers, for Juvenile Turf (G1) kingpin Oscar Performance went on to wire the $1.2 million Belmont Derby Invitational (G1) later on the card.
New Money Honey went off as the 5-2 second choice, with new French import Sistercharlie the 8-5 favorite. But it was a tale of two trips, or three if you include Brown’s other French recruit, Uni. New Money Honey capitalized on her trip, within striking range of the pace, while the emigres were left too much to do trying to make up ground from well back. Uni was particularly disadvantaged by her slightly tardy start. Considering how effective she’d been on or near the lead in France, Uni was taken out of her game.
In contrast, Dynatail employed her typical tactics and carved out the pace through an opening quarter in :23.50. Aidan O’Brien’s shipper Key to My Heart, already lapped onto her, headed Dynatail through ensuing fractions of :47.54 and 1:11.38 before giving way abruptly on the far turn. Dynatail was finished as well, leaving the stalking Grizzel to take over by the mile mark in 1:35.84.
New Money Honey was on the move, though, and Castellano produced her at the right time. Driving past Grizzel and pulling away, she had too much momentum to be caught.
Sistercharlie, who had been last of 11 for the opening half-mile, gradually worked her forward and did her best work late. The French Oaks (G1) runner-up was gaining on her stablemate, finally reducing the margin to a neck without quite looking like overtaking her. Uni, threading her way through on the inside, rallied well for third.
Brown thus regained his dominance in this race with a vengeance. He had won the turf feature for four straight years, two under its old name as the Garden City, until the Mark Casse-trained Catch a Glimpse intervened in 2016.
Daddys Lil Darling reported home fourth. Grizzel, Beau Recall, Coasted, Journey Home, Violet Blue, Dynatail, and Key to My Heart rounded out the order of finish. Fifty Five, Brown’s fourth entrant, was scratched or else he would have had a shot at the superfecta.
New Money Honey, who negotiated 1 1/4 miles on the firm inner turf in 1:59.89, has now bankrolled $1,342,017 from her 6-4-0-1 record. Second to La Coronel in her Saratoga unveiling, she broke her maiden in the Miss Grillo (G3) en route to Breeders’ Cup glory at Santa Anita. After a disappointing sixth in her return in the April 13 Appalachian (G3), New Money Honey rebounded with a front-running coup in the June 8 Wonder Again (G3), the local prep.
Bred by WinStar Farm in Kentucky, New Money Honey commanded $450,000 as a yearling at Keeneland September. The well-bred filly is by Medaglia d’Oro and out of the Distorted Humor mare Weekend Whim, an unraced full sister to Grade 1-winning millionaire Any Given Saturday. Weekend Whim is also a half-sister to multiple Grade 3 victress Bohemian Lady, dam of Almoonqith, a Group 3 hero in both Dubai and Australia.
New Money Honey is therefore bred on the same Medaglia d’Oro/Forty Niner-line cross as Rachel Alexandra and Songbird.
Quotes from Belmont
Trainer Chad Brown on his trifecta: “They all ran terrific. I have to watch it again to see all three trips. I was trying to watch it the best I can.
“Obviously, this filly (New Money Honey) ran terrific, got position early, and they were moving along pretty good. Javier (Castellano) just backed off a little bit and had first run, and she kept great.
“My other two horses (Sistercharlie and Uni) were two first-time Euros, they broke a little slow and were pretty far back. Both of them ran terrific, they look like they’re going to have outstanding careers as well. I haven’t really planned beyond this race, actually they’ll probably all go in different directions.”
Winning rider Javier Castellano on New Money Honey: “I’m very lucky to ride for Mr. Brown and the opportunity he gives me to ride the filly. We’ve been really lucky except for the last couple of races with the filly. I think she is very straightforward and today she broke well out of the gate and got a good spot in the race. Chad and I talked about our strategy before the race and I tried to follow procedure. It worked out great. It was a beautiful spot in the beginning of the race. When it was time to go, she responded and finished really well today.”
Hall of Famer John Velazquez on runner-up Sistercharlie: “It was a perfect trip. We didn’t get there. She’s run a little bit longer so she didn’t show much speed the first part of the race. So, I dropped inside and tried to save all the ground that I could. Down the backstretch, I tried to make a little move and get a little bit closer to the horses in front. I saw Javier was third or fourth on the horse to beat so I tried not to make a premature move. When I pulled out at the quarter pole she ran, but she couldn’t catch up.”
Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. on third-placer Uni: “I got a good trip. She’s a nice filly. She moved well and has a bright future going forward.”