by John Mucciolo
A trio of Kentucky Oaks prep races took place on Saturday that yielded a few strong performances.
Debby Oxley’s Chocolate Kisses earned her first graded stakes tally with a late-running score in the $200,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) at Oaklawn Park. The Mark Casse trainee broke slowest of all but closed best to post a one-length win under the guidance of Orlando Mojica. She clocked 1 1/16 miles in 1:45.78 and earned 50 points towards the Kentucky Oaks.
Pacesetter Motion Emotion stayed on well and finished 1 1/2 lengths clear in second. The 11-10 favorite was followed home by Bizwhacks, who was more than nine lengths ahead of her nearest foe.
Chocolate Kisses upped her mark to 7-3-1-1 with lifetime earnings of $232,950. The daughter of Candy Ride is out of Grade 3 queen Brownie Points, making her a half-sister to standout turf performer Synchrony.
In the $257,375 Busher Stakes at Aqueduct, NY Final Furlong Racing Stable, Maspeth Stable and Parkland Thoroughbreds’ Espresso Shot moved widest into the stretch and inched clear late to post a three-quarters of a length triumph.
Trained by Jorge Abreu and ridden by Eric Cancel, the sophomore lass endured one-mile on the fast main surface in 1:37.69 to post her second straight stakes triumph. The Mission Impazible filly earned 50 points on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks for her work.
Oxy Lady won a three-horse photo to secure runner-up honors, a head in front of 8-5 favorite Orra Moor. It was another head back to 5-2 second choice Please Flatter Me.
Espresso Shot improved her lifetime line to 6-3-1-1, $262,975 following her victory. The bay miss is out of the winning Medaglia d’Oro mare Glory Gold.
The $100,000 Bourbonette Oaks was worth 20 points on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks and they went to Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s homebred Naughty Joker. The Into Mischief filly took a short edge nearing midstretch and inched clear to post a 1 3/4-length win beneath Rafael Bejarano. The Wesley Ward pupil finished off one-mile on the all-weather surface in 1:40.08 en route to her initial stakes coup.
Fun Finder led early and battled gamely to the wire in finishing second best on the day. New Roo closed from off the pace to garner show honors, and she was followed by the late-running Diva Day.
Naughty Joker improved her career earnings to $158,680 from a 4-2-2-0 lifetime mark. The Kentucky-bred, who previously finished second in the Spendthrift Juvenile Stallion Stakes, is out of the Distorted Humor mare Fleeting Humor, making her a half-sister to Grade 3-placed Seventhfleethumor and stakes runner-up Cathedral Reader.