April 15, 2024

Lemon Muffin breaks maiden in Honeybee upset

Lemon Muffin wins Honeybee Stakes wins at Oaklawn Park (Photo Coady Photography / Credit to Renee Torbit)
Lemon Muffin upsets the Honeybee at Oaklawn Park (Photo Coady Photography / Credit to Renee Torbit)

Following four consecutive runner-up finishes versus maiden special weight rivals, Lemon Muffin jumped to stakes competition with a stunning upset in Saturday’s $400,000 Honeybee (G3) at Oaklawn Park, rallying to win going away by 3 1/2 lengths. The three-year-old daughter of Collected joined the Kentucky Oaks (G1) mix for Hall of Famer and five-time Oaks scorer D. Wayne Lukas, who saddled his third winner on the card, and Lemon Muffin was overlooked as the 28-1 eighth choice among eight fillies.

Keith Asmussen earned his first graded success after stewards disallowed a claim of foul for interference in midstretch from runner-up Tapit Jenalie, and Lemon Muffin covered 1 1/16 miles in 1:45.60.

The Road to the Kentucky Oaks series qualifier offered points on a 50-25-14-10-5 scale to the top five finishers.

Owned by Aaron Sones, Lemon Muffin was bred in Kentucky by Mr. and Mrs. Theodore Kuster and the Collected Syndicate. The $140,000 OBS April two-year-old purchase recorded an unplaced finish after missing the break in her debut, and Lemon Muffin posted a pair of seconds at Churchill Downs last fall before just missing in a pair of six-furlong events at Oaklawn this winter.

“She was dying to go two turns, I knew it.” Lukas said. “I kind of handicapped her keeping her short a couple times.”

The gray miss stretched to two turns in her sixth career outing and rated a few lengths off the pace as Edistrudis and In Just My Heels dueled on the front end through opening splits in :23.60 and :48.32. Tapit Jenalie tracked the top pair in third and advanced nearing the completion of the far turn to take a short lead into the stretch, but Lemon Muffin was rolling into contention on her outside.

Lemon Muffin and Tapit Jenalie exchanged bumps in midstretch, but Lemon Muffin had all the momentum and drove clear in the final sixteenth of a mile. Tapit Jenalie, who was off at 22-1, held second by a half-length over 11-10 favorite West Omaha, who lacked the needed rally in the stretch.

Neom Beach came next in fourth and was followed by Midshipman’s Dance, Band of Gold, In Just My Heels, Edistrudis, Honor Cat, and Alys Beach.

Lemon Muffin is a half-sister to stakes-placed Creative Bid, both hailing from the Canadian Frontier mare Pelt.

The Honeybee shared the spotlight with the Rebel (G2) for Kentucky Derby hopefuls, and Saturday’s undercard featured the $600,000 Razorback H. (G3) for older horses and $150,000 Carousel S. for female sprinters.

Arindel’s homebred Octane raced up close to the pace from the break of the Razorback and surged to a short lead in the stretch of the 1 1/16-mile Razorback, turning back a bid from Notary before prevailing by three-quarters of a length over the late-closing Magic Tap. Julien Leparoux was up on the five-year-old gelding for Juan Alvarado.

A four-time restricted stakes winner, Octane notched his first graded victory. The Florida-bred son of Brethren was exiting a head second in the Jan. 20 Sunshine Classic at Gulfstream Park, and his overall record now reads 18-8-4-1.

Octane stopped the teletimer in 1:43.57 as the 5.50-1 third choice.

Zeitlos made her stakes debut a winning one in the six-furlong Carousel, rallying to overhaul Backyard Money in deep stretch and score by 1 1/2 lengths. Off as the 7-10 favorite among eight rivals, the four-year-old filly recorded her third consecutive win, concluding last year with an entry-level allowance win at Churchill Downs and opening this season with a conditioned allowance tally at Oaklawn, and Tyler Gaffalione was up for Steve Asmussen.

She was timed in 1:10.97. Owned by Peter Leidel and breeder Stonestreet, Zeitlos is by Curlin. The chestnut improved her overall career mark to 10-4-4-1.