INGLEWOOD, Calif. (May 31, 2009) — Favorite Well Monied, ridden patiently by Joel Rosario, moved into contention entering the far turn and rallied from third at the top of the stretch to win Sunday’s $150,000 Honeymoon Handicap by 1 ¼ lengths at Hollywood Park.
The victory completed a hat-trick for Rosario, who overtook Rafael Bejarano atop the jockeys’ standings with 39 wins through 27 racing days.
Well Monied, seventh on the backstretch, covered 1 1/8 miles on the Lakeside Turf Course in 1:48.35 to win her third straight race — all on the turf. She established herself as a leading candidate for the $700,000 American Oaks, an invitational event which will be run for the eighth time on July 5.
“After her last two wins I had a lot of confidence,” Rosario said. “They were going fast up front and I could see everything from where I was. I had to ask her to run before the three-eighths pole so we wouldn’t get caught too wide. She was running real comfortably at the top of the stretch and I had a lot of horse left.”
Second-choice Acting Lady got up for second money under Bejarano, 1 ¾ lengths clear of Lexlenos and jockey Alex Solis in third. Century Park finished fourth in the field of nine sophomore fillies, followed by Daylumney, Dash Dot Dash, Candilejas, Maid For Music and pacesetter Pride Dancer.
“The winner was definitely the best horse in the race,” Bejarano said. “My filly tried real hard, but the only way she could have won is if the winner got in trouble. I was trying to follow the leader and I thought I had her but he (Rosario) rode a smart race and beat me with the best horse.”
Well Monied, a $100,000 yearling purchase trained by Howie Zucker and owned by C T Grether Inc., finished fourth in her lone start as a 2-year-old. Since finishing fourth in her second 2009 start in late February, she is unbeaten. The winner’s share of $90,000 boosted her earnings to $155,700.
“She’s a really honest filly,” Zucker said. “I don’t know that there’s a prettier mover on the lawn in this division. Who’s going to the American Oaks? I don’t know that I’m going. It’s not so much who’s going, but I have to see how my filly is. She’s kind of a thin type. She doesn’t hold her weight in between. I’ve been running her once a month and if I have to I’ll fatten her up a little bit.
“She seemed to take this like it was nothing,” Zucker added. “She wasn’t even blowing when she got back. I love it. She’s perhaps the best-acting horse I’ve ever had in my barn. She’s just so placid and mellow and aims to please all the time. She’s a pleasure to train. I always admired that filly Wait a While and I thought maybe this was my Wait a While. I’ve been waiting a while to get one, so here we are.”
Well Monied paid $4.80, $3 and $2.40, while Acting Lady returned $3.80 and $3.20. The show payoff on Lexlenos was $8.20.
Earlier on the program, first-time starter Necessary Evil set a track record of :56.68 for five furlongs under Rosario. Trainer Doug O’Neill has now sent out five 2-year-olds making their first career start to win at the meeting. Mi Sueno, a $1.7-million yearling purchase, finished second, beaten 3 3/4 lengths.
Racing resumes at Hollywood Park on Thursday.
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