By Ben Massam
Trainer Steve Asmussen knows what it takes to win Oaklawn’s GIII Honeybee S., having found the race’s winner’s circle four times. The 50-year-old trainer appears well positioned to notch win number five Saturday, sending out GISW Nickname (Scat Daddy) and the promising Terra Promessa (Curlin) in the Hot Springs oval’s penultimate prep for the GI Kentucky Oaks.
LNJ Foxwoods’ Nickname parlayed a second-out maiden victory sprinting at Saratoga to a triumph in Belmont’s GI Frizette S. last October, and closed out her juvenile campaign with a fourth-place run behind unbeaten champion Songbird (Medaglia d’Oro) in the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. The dark bay returned from a brief layoff to run second, beaten a half-length, by Marquee Miss (Cowboy Cal) in the one-mile Martha Washington S. here Feb. 6 [video]. Nickname has posted four workouts in the interim and enters the Honeybee as the 7-5 morrning line favorite in a compact field of six.
Stonestreet Stables homebred Terra Promessa may lack the credentials of her stablemate, but proved to be another valuable member of Asmussen’s sophomore arsenal with a pair of impressive wins around two turns, including a nine-length romp in a first-level allowance test Feb. 5. The bay retains the services of regular rider Ricardo Santana, Jr., who rode Euphrosyne (Harlan’s Holiday) to Asmussen’s most recent Honeybee triumph in 2014.
Martha Washington winner Marquee Miss has made herself right at home at Oaklawn, proving her versatility by annexing the six-furlong Dixie Belle S. Jan. 15 prior to her most recent score around two turns. Winner of the Arlington-Washington Lassie as a juvenile, Marquee Miss can give trainer Ingrid Mason her second consecutive win in the Honeybee, having won last year’s renewal with Sarah Sis (Sharp Humor).
William K. Helwig’s She’s a Bootsy Too (Misremembered) looms as an intriguing longshot in the race off a pair of six-furlong wins over the Oaklawn strip to begin her career. Purchased for just $17,000 as a Fasig-Tipton Midlantic juvenile, the bay got up to score by a head after encountering trouble in a Jan. 18 maiden dash and recently made it two-for-two with a decisive allowance tally Feb. 26.
Completing the field are last term’s Churchill Downs Debutante S. winner Cosmic Evolution (Proud Citizen), who will also be making her first start around two turns, and Dorodansa (Bellamy Road), third last out in the Martha Washington.