Honor D Lady Aims To Regain Winning Form in Lady’s Secret

June 6, 2024

Honor D Lady victorious in the Royal Delta (G3) Feb. 17 at Gulfstream Park (Coglianese)

Tom Luicci/Monmouth Park

OCEANPORT, N.J.— Trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. still isn’t sure what happened to Honor D Lady in the Grade 1 Apple Blossom at Oaklawn Park in her last start but it hasn’t changed his plans of pointing the 4-year-old filly to the $500,000, Grade 3 Molly Pitcher Stakes at Monmouth Park on July 20.

It just caused a slight change to the lead-up to that race.

Instead of going directly from the Apple Blossom to the Molly Pitcher on the NYRA Haskell Stakes undercard, Joseph has the multiple Grade 3 winner set to go in Saturday’s $100,000 Lady’s Secret Stakes at the Jersey Shore track.

The Lady’s Secret, for fillies and mares 3 and up, will be contested at a mile and a sixteenth – the same distance as the Molly Pitcher.

“What happened in the Apple Blossom (a ninth-place finish) was abnormal for her,” said Joseph. “We were going to go straight to the Molly Pitcher from there. But she is doing well and she’s going to run in the Molly Pitcher so we thought we’d get her back on track with a race over the racetrack.”

Candied wins the Darley Alcibiades (G1) Oct. 6 at Keeneland (Courtney Snow/Past The Wire)

The Lady’s Secret drew a field of seven, including the Todd Pletcher-trained Candied, a Grade 1 winner who was forced to skip the Kentucky Oaks due to a foot bruise. But Candied, a close-up third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies last year, is a 3-year-old trying older horses for the first time.

“Candied is a very good horse – a Grade 1 winner (the Alcibiades Stakes),” said Joseph. “But she is a 3-year-old going against older horses. This is probably not the best spot for a 3-year-old, but if she is good enough then she deserves it.

“Personally, I like taking on a 3-year-old with an older horse this time of the year.”

Honor D Lady, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Honor Code-Complicated by Blame, owns a pair of Grade 3 wins, including a sharp victory in the Grade 3 Royal Delta at Gulfstream Park in her first start of the year on Feb. 17.

The clunker in the Apple Blossom followed.

“I think her Royal Delta race was very good,” said Joseph. “Obviously, the Apple Blossom was a bit of an anomaly. She never really travelled from the beginning of that race. Basically, Javier Castellano had her under a drive the whole way.

“It was a bit puzzling. We had to re-group off of that. The way she is working and acting I think she is back on track and hopefully she will run her race on Saturday.”

Owned by Final Furlong Farm and Madaket Stables, Honor D Lady has a 4-2-3 line from 11 career starts with earnings of $388,167. Six of those starts have been in graded stakes company and she has hit the board in four of them.

Paco Lopez, Monmouth Park’s leading rider, has the mount.

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