03/07/2013 3:43PM

Oaklawn Park: Flashy Gray steps up, stretches out in Honeybee


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Less than a week after closing as the 6-1 favorite in the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager, Flashy Gray will get her first shot at points for the race when she makes both her stakes and two-turn debut in Saturday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Honeybee at Oaklawn Park.

The Honeybee, at 1 1/16 miles, is worth 50 points to its winner on the new system governing preference into the Kentucky Oaks if the May 3 race is oversubscribed. A field of nine fillies will start, including Rose to Gold, winner of the Grade 3, $500,000 Delta Downs Princess; Sister Ginger, who won last month’s $75,000 Martha Washington at Oaklawn; and Flash Forward, winner of a $75,000 optional claimer in January at Gulfstream Park.

Flashy Gray also is in from Florida, where she won a seven-furlong allowance in 1:22.60 in her last start Feb. 10. She was prominent throughout for a 4 3/4-length win, and the Beyer Speed Figure of 95 that she earned is the fourth-highest Beyer put up by a 3-year-old filly this year in North America.

“She seems to have a tremendous amount of speed,” said Bill Mott, who trains Flashy Gray for West Point Thoroughbreds and Tom Keithley. “She laid right on the pace going seven furlongs at Gulfstream. When asked to run, she was able to pull away at the end.”

It was a performance that has Mott hopeful Flashy Gray will be effective at the two-turn trip Saturday.

“It’s time to try it,” he said. “She’s got three races under her belt, and just the running style she showed last time, in her stride, in her finish, seemed to indicate to me that we need to try it and see where we go from there.”

Flashy Gray is by Flashy Bull, who won the Grade 1 Stephen Foster at 1 1/8 miles at Churchill Downs in 2007 for West Point Thoroughbreds. She has won 2 of 3 starts, her other score coming in a maiden special weight at Churchill Downs in her second out last November. Flashy Gray rolled by 10 lengths in the 6 1/2-furlong sprint and was then sold at auction for $775,000 as part of the dispersal of her original owner, Dolph Morrison.

Flashy Gray will break from post 8 under Mike Smith, and given her speed she appears to be a candidate to wire the field in the Honeybee.

Rose to Gold will be making her second start since winning the Delta Downs Princess on Nov. 17. She took the lead into the stretch in the one-mile Martha Washington on Feb. 9, then ended up second when Sister Ginger came back for a 2 3/4-length win.

“She needed the race,” said Sal Santoro, who trains Rose to Gold. “She ran a good race, and she might have got a little tired at the end, and she did travel three and four wide. But, no excuses. We’re not looking for excuses. That horse, Sister Ginger, she ran an awesome race. She’s a very, very nice filly.”

Calvin Borel, who has been aboard for the two-minute mile drills Santoro has used as part of Rose to Gold’s training up to the Honeybee, will ride the filly for the first time Saturday. The pair will break from post 3.

Sister Ginger is making her graded stakes debut following her front-running win in the Martha Washington.

“The Honeybee is obviously a tougher spot, more money, a graded race, and we’ll have to step it up,” said Steve Asmussen, who trains Sister Ginger. “I do feel good about her last race and how she’s trained since.”

Sister Ginger will break from post 6 under Oaklawn leading rider Ricardo Santana Jr.

Liberty Girl will be moving back to a distance over which she is 2 for 2 after finishing a troubled fifth in the Martha Washington. She is a half-sister to Grade 1 winners Ruler On Ice and Champagne d’Oro.