03/07/2012 3:54PM

Oaklawn: Amie's Dini has to prove she's top-shelf filly in Honeybee

Email
Coady Photography/Oaklawn Park
Amie's Dini, winner of her two-turn debut in the Martha Washington, will face tougher 3-year-old fillies in Saturday's Honeybee.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Amie’s Dini won at two turns in her first attempt in last month’s $75,000 Martha Washington at Oaklawn Park and in the process earned her best career Beyer Speed Figure. But she still will be in the position of proving herself Saturday when she runs in the track’s Grade 3, $125,000 Honeybee.

The Honeybee, for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles, will share a card with the Grade 3, $125,000 Razorback Handicap. The races serve as stepping-stones to the respective Grade 2, $300,000 Fantasy on April 11 and the Grade 2, $350,000 Oaklawn Handicap on April 14.

Amie’s Dini, as a $3,000 yearling purchase who won her career debut for a claiming price of $50,000, has been in the position of proving herself for a long time now, said her trainer, Ron Moquett. And the story will be much the same Saturday. The filly Amie’s Dini defeated in the Martha Washington, Grade 3 winner Now I Know, emerged from the race with a career-ending injury. And while Amie’s Dini was an authoritative, 1 3/4-length winner, she won’t be the favorite in the Honeybee. In the race, she will be meeting one of the nation’s leading 3-year-old fillies in On Fire Baby.

“We’re running against a classy filly in On Fire Baby,” said Moquett, who trains Amie’s Dinie for Mike Walker and Lou Sutterfield. “She comes with a lot of promise and lot of credentials already, and we’re kind of an unknown factor. We’re trying to see how we measure up against a really good filly. Not that she’s the only one in there, mind you. There’s some really nice fillies in the race, but she’s obviously proven distance and class.

“We are optimistic about our chances. We’re confident and ready to go. I think if we get a good trip, we’re going to give our best effort. This filly, she does not think she can’t win. She believes that she’s going to win when she goes over there. She’s a hard-trying filly and she does have ability. And I’ve been able to do everything that I want to do with this filly.”

Amie’s Dini worked a bullet five furlongs in 59.40 seconds Sunday in her final Honeybee prep. Jon Court has the mount on the filly, and was aboard for her Martha Washington win, a race that was bittersweet, said Moquett.

“I was very proud of her race,” Moquett said. “It’s very unfortunate about losing a classy filly that would have made an impact on the 3-year-old campaign this year. Having said that, I don’t want to take anything away from my filly. She ran hard. She did exactly what we asked her to do. I look forward to her solidifying her spot. Now it’s time to see if we can go out there and do it.”

Others expected for the Honeybee include Inca Miss, who will be ridden by Lindey Wade, Our Domain, and Silver Hustler.

Blinkers-on for Silver Hustler

Silver Hustler was a noted debut winner in January, and after her last-to-first burst she was sold privately to Al and Sandee Kirkwood, the Washington State residents who have raced such stakes winners as Southern Africa, Stolen Gold, and Rugula, a past runner-up in the Fantasy at Oaklawn.

Forster, who trained Rugula, kept Silver Hustler in his care despite the change of ownership. Silver Hustler has started once since her debut score, and finished a troubled third in a first-level allowance route in which she was favored Feb. 12.

“She broke slowly, and we’re not really sure what happened on the first turn,” Forster said. “She seemed to lose her action. I don’t know if she jumped a shadow, but there was some sort of struggle in the first turn. She recovered, then ended up very wide on the second turn.”

Silver Hustler has turned in two strong five-furlong works since the race, and both of those drills have been in blinkers, which she will wear for the first time Saturday.

“We’re looking for a little more professional race from her,” he said. “It’s something to focus her a little more on what she’s doing, rather than on what’s going on around her. We think she has a world of talent. She needs to be focused on the task.”

Silver Hustler is a half-sister to Grand Slam Andre, a three-time stakes winner who earned close to $300,000. Both are from the mare Spring Free, who is a half-sister to millionaire Spring House.

Uh Oh Bango points to Oaklawn Handicap

Uh On Bango, third in the Santa Anita Handicap last Saturday, may make his next start in the $350,000 Oaklawn Handicap on April 14, trainer Kory Owens said.

The winner of the Grade 2 San Pasqual Handicap in January, Uh Oh Bango was beaten four lengths by Ron the Greek in the Big Cap, closing from last in the field of 13 in the final half-mile.

“He came out in fine shape,” Owens said. “He might be a little tired.”

Uh Oh Bango, 5, has won 5 of 19 starts and $662,712 for Triple AAA Ranch.

Uh Oh Bango started twice at Oaklawn Park in 2010, having finished fourth in the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes and Grade 1 Arkansas Derby. He has raced in California since then.

– additional reporting by Steve Andersen