By Ryan Martin
ELMONT, N.Y. – Saul Kupferberg’s Honor Way added “stakes winner” to her resume in her 40th career start, when tracking the pace and kicking clear a 4 ½-length winner in Sunday’s Pumpkin Pie for fillies and mares on Closing Day of the fall meet at Belmont Park.
The 6-year-old daughter of Caleb’s Posse was thrice placed against stakes company, including a last-out runner-up finish to Frank’s Rockette in the Grade 2 Gallant Bloom at Belmont Park, but finally notched a breakthrough victory in the seven-furlong event.
Piloted by Jose Ortiz, Honor Way took back out of the gate as Never Enough Time wasted no time getting to the front and recorded opening fractions of 22.47 seconds and 45.13 for the quarter-mile and the half, respectively over the sloppy and sealed main track.
Around the far turn, the pacesetter was confronted by Pacific Gale as Honor Way made a three-wide bid to the outside. Just to the outside of the quarter pole, Never Enough Time gave way as Pacific Gale briefly held command, but Honor Way launched an assertive move and rolled home in a final time of 1:22.98.
Pacific Gale finished 3 ½ lengths ahead of Never Enough Time in third.
Bronx Beauty and Gotham Gala rounded out the order of finish. Alisio was scratched.
Honor Way, bred in Kentucky by Candy Meadows, improved her record to 40-12-8-7.
“I’ve been trying to get a stakes win with her,” said trainer Charlton Baker. “She’s a better horse this year. Going forward as a broodmare prospect, this is super for her.”
Baker said the seven-furlong distance and the sloppy going were right up the mare’s alley. She bagged three trips to the winner’s circle over the respective distance and track conditions heading into the race.
“Seven furlongs is her distance and she was doing great coming into this race,” Baker said. “She doesn’t mind the slop and those things came together. The pace helped a lot and she put herself in a nice position. Once she was that close, she always finishes. She carries her game with her every time. It doesn’t matter what the track is.”
Ortiz said he was content to sit a patient trip and once they reached the three-eights pole, he sent the mare on her way.
“It was a small field and I was able to wait two or three lengths back,” Ortiz said. “Every time she’s in that kind of position, I know she’s going to run home. She doesn’t mind [the slop]. She’s an old mare and has run through everything. I was very confident passing the three-eighths pole.”
2020 Pumpkin Pie Replay
Live racing shifts to Aqueduct Racetrack on Friday, November 6 with a first post of 11:15 a.m. Eastern. Highlighting the program, which coincides with the first day of the Breeders’ Cup World Thoroughbred Championships at Keeneland Race Course, is the $100,000 Atlantic Beach for juvenile colts going six furlongs over the outer turf, and the $100,000 Tempted for juvenile fillies going a one-turn mile over the main track.
Photo: Honor Way. (NYRA/Coglianese)