01/06/2017 11:26AM

2016 Eclipse Awards: New Money Honey

Debbie Roma

If you want an idea of the regard trainer Chad Brown has for New Money Honey, his quote after he sent out his filly to win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf speaks volumes.

“I think the sky is the limit,” Brown said. “A mile [the distance of the Juvenile Fillies Turf] is as short as she wants to run. I think this filly has an unbelievable future.

“It’s not out of the question,” Brown added, “that we give her a spin on the dirt to see how she handles it before the Kentucky Oaks.”

If New Money Honey does indeed get an opportunity on dirt in 2017, she will become approximately the gazillionth horse who accomplished something big on grass to attempt to replicate that success on the main track. This is nothing new. But when you consider the source, in this case Brown, then this thinking about New Money Honey becomes noteworthy. Brown has had more accomplished turf performers than one can count, yet the number of those grass standouts who switched surfaces in the hopes of also catching lightning on dirt can probably be counted on one hand.

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Brown sees no problem in letting turf horses be turf horses. So, even though New Money Honey has a pedigree that leans more toward dirt – she is by Medaglia d’Oro and out of the Distorted Humor mare Weekend Whim and was bred in Kentucky by WinStar Farm – for Brown to speak of her in such bold surface-switch terms, well, it says a lot.

But first things first. Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s honor New Money Honey for her 2-year-old campaign of 2016, a campaign that, while only three starts long, was so compelling that it made her a finalist for a divisional Eclipse Award.

New Money Honey was purchased for $450,000 at the 2015 Keeneland September yearling sale by racing newcomer Bob Edwards, who, along with wife Kristine and their three adult children, races in the name of e Five Racing Thoroughbreds. New Money Honey made her debut on closing day at Saratoga in a straight maiden turf route. She was sent off as the 9-5 favorite and came from well off the pace to finish second to La Coronel.

By every measure, New Money Honey’s debut was a solid effort, but it soon took on an even greater shine when La Coronel came back to dominate the Grade 3 JPMorgan Chase Jessamine Stakes in a performance so impressive that she was actually sent off as the favorite in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, despite drawing a disastrous outside post position.

New Money Honey, meanwhile, made her second start in the Grade 3 Miss Grillo Stakes at Belmont Park. The Miss Grillo wasn’t necessarily on New Money Honey’s dance card, but she worked so well after her debut – “She dragged me here with her last two workouts,” Brown said at the time – that it seemed like a suitable spot, even if she was still a maiden.

Sure enough, New Money Honey, after a show of improved positional speed that also was evident in the Breeders’ Cup, made a show of her Miss Grillo opposition, scoring in commanding style.

As one might expect, the Juvenile Fillies Turf at Santa Anita was an exponentially more difficult assignment, but New Money Honey was equal to the task, taking the measure of 13 opponents and impressing not only Brown but also regular rider Javier Castellano.

“I liked the way she did it,” Castellano said right after New Money Honey’s Breeders’ Cup score. “She gave me a powerful move. This filly is amazing.”