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Honeybee success may turn sour for Sarah Sis

By Jennifer Caldwell

Sarah Sis easily grabbed command entering the stretch of Saturday’s Honeybee S. (G3) at Oaklawn Park and cruised under the wire in geared down fashion.

That could explain the dark bay filly’s relatively low 86 BRIS Speed figure. The Ingrid Mason trainee actually earned a point less than when she ran second to Take Charge Brandi in the Martha Washington S. one race prior.

The question is, did Sarah Sis really get anything out of her win? Easy victories are always exciting to watch, but sometimes they can be more of a hindrance than a help to a filly moving forward. Each race is an opportunity to progress in terms of conditioning and experience, but when that race turns into a paid workout it can leave a runner short for their next start.

Sarah Sis will get the chance to answer the readiness question as she is likely for the $400,000 Fantasy S. (G3) on April 4 back at Oaklawn.

Honeybee runner-up Oceanwave could show up in the Fantasy as well and might turn the tables on her rival.

While Sarah Sis was far ahead in the lane, jockey Julio Felix still showed her the whip on a number of occasions to keep her mind on the business at hand before finally wrapping up.

Oceanwave, on the other hand, was flying late in the Honeybee, drastically cutting into Sarah Sis’ margin to be just 1 ½ lengths behind on the wire. It was a nice effort for the gray filly, who was competing beyond seven furlongs and trying stakes company for the first time in her short career. She even galloped out well past Sarah Sis, indicating more distance could be right up her alley.

The biggest blow to Saturday’s Honeybee came with the scratch of Promise Me Silver. That unbeaten filly had already handed Sarah Sis a close beat when holding her to a neck second in Oaklawn’s Dixie Belle S. on January 15. It would have been nice to see those two rematch in the Honeybee, and could have provided some valuable conditioning for both fillies.

There was one other major three-year-old filly stakes on Saturday, and while it didn’t offer any Kentucky Oaks (G1) points like the Honeybee, the Florida Oaks (G2) might still end up factoring in the Run for the Lillies, at least prep race wise.

In years past it hasn’t been uncommon to see a turf runner take on Keeneland’s Ashland S. (G1) in early April. Admittedly, that could all change now that the track has switched from Polytrack back to dirt, but Saturday’s Florida Oaks winner Quality Rocks does have main track experience.

That came when the dark bay miss captured her initial two starts for trainer Bill Helmbrecht over synthetic tracks at Presque Isle Downs and Arlington. She was transferred to Bill Mott, who switched her to the turf and has since kept her on that surface despite not winning until Saturday.

One of Quality Rocks’ owners is celebrity chef Bobby Flay, who is a mainstay during Derby week at Churchill, so it wouldn’t be at all surprising to see the filly’s connections try her in the Ashland as a test for the Oaks.

Photo 1: Sarah Sis, Oceanwave (Oaklawn Park/Coady Photography)

Photo 2: Quality Rocks (SV Photography)