July 18, 2024

Kimari takes Honorable Miss with late rally

Kimari (outside) wins the 2022 Honorable Miss (Chelsea Durand/Coglianese Photography)

Kimari rallied to edge Frank’s Rockette by a half-length in Wednesday’s $186,000 Honorable Miss H. (G2) at Saratoga for trainer Wesley Ward and jockey Joel Rosario.

A Grade 1 winner of the Madison at Keeneland last season, but unplaced in two of three subsequent stakes appearances, the five-year-old daughter of Munnings showed truer colors as she sprung a mild upset as the 3-1 third choice in a field of four fillies and mares.

Amadevil set the opening quarter in :22.72, but was overtaken on the far turn by the slow-starting Frank’s Rockette with an inside bid. Kimari was perched in third throughout, with 7-10 favorite Bella Sofia also racing in close attendance.

Kimari swung wide turning for home with Frank’s Rockette the target, and she needed nearly the entire stretch to wear that foe down. She finally did so, clocking six furlongs over a fast track in 1:10.78.

“I thought the race set up for today, especially drawing the outside – it gave Joel a nice easy run down the backside with no opposition as far as maneuvering to try to get there,” Ward said.

Owned by Coolmore and Jonathan Poulin, Kimari paid $8.10. Frank’s Rockette was a clear second by 5 3/4 lengths over Bella Sofia. Amadevil was eased down the stretch and was found to have bled out of both nostrils.

This was the sixth career stakes win for the world-traveling Kimari, whose two trips to Royal Ascot resulted in second-place finishes in the 2019 Queen Mary (G2) and 2020 Commonwealth Cup (G1). In addition to the Madison, her stateside successes include the Bolton Landing S. at Saratoga and Indian Summer S. at Keeneland in 2019, the Purple Martin S. at Oaklawn in 2020, and the Spring Fever S. at Oaklawn last season prior to the Madison.

In her two starts leading up to the Honorable Miss, Kimari was third in her Madison title defense and fifth in the Derby City Distaff (G1) at Churchill.

“I don’t think [she tailed off],” Ward said. “Our plan was to go into the Madison, which she did, and things just didn’t quite set up for her that day. She was up forcing the pace on a track that she relished – that’s why (Tyler) Gaffalione decided to do that. But I think she prefers to make that one run like she did today and when she did run just average at Churchill, I think that was more my fault. She came back a little closer than I would have liked with a big filly like this, and she probably went on a track she didn’t really care for at Churchill. I knew that going in, but kind of talked myself into it.”

Bred in Kentucky by China Horse Club International, Kimari was produced by the Grade 3-winning Cozze Up Lady, by Cozzene.