Lukas Maiden Lemon Muffin Wins Oaklawn's Honeybee

Lemon Muffin | Coady

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The coach strikes again.

Before seeing any past performances, if one was asked to guess Saturday morning before the day's races which trainer might break a maiden in a graded Kentucky Oaks points race while at the same time helping a young jockey get his first career graded score, odds are the first name off of most everyone's lips would be D. Wayne Lukas. The Hall of Famer, with his usual flair for the unconventional, sent out 28-1 Lemon Muffin (f, 3, Collected–Pelt, by Canadian Frontier) under Keith Asmussen to capture her first lifetime win in Oaklawn's GIII Honeybee S., worth not just $400,000 but Oaks points on a scale of 50-25-15-10-5.  Last year's Delta Downs stakes winner Tapit Jenallie (Tapit) was second, while favored West Omaha (West Coast), winner of the Jan. 20 Silverbulletday S. at Fair Grounds, was third.

Lemon Muffin looked to have gotten pinched a little soon after the break, but the filly was unfazed, managing to get in even tighter and play bumper cars again soon after, all before the first quarter unfolded in :23.60. In Just My Heels (Midnight Lute) and Edistrudis (Practical Joke) led up front as Lemon Muffin bullied her way through to secure a clear spot on the outside midpack. A joint third soon after the :48.32 half, she swung wide and advanced with tenacity down the late. The gray tangled with Tapit Jenallie, exchanging yet more bumps, then powered clear and angled inside, leaving no doubt about the outcome with a 3 1/2-length triumph until a claim of foul for interference was filed by the runner-up's connections. The stewards ruled in favor of the winner and let the result stand. Neither Band of Gold (Preservationist) nor Alys Beach (Omaha Beach), both popular early Oaks picks, were a factor, finishing sixth and 10th, respectively.

Bred in Kentucky by Mr. and Mrs. Theodore R. Kuster and the Collected Syndicate, Lemon Muffin hammered for $140,000 to Bruno DeBerdt, agent at the 2023 OBS April sale after working a furlong in :10. She debuted last October for Aaron Sones at Keeneland with a slow break and little impact. A month later, she was back, this time at Churchill, and promptly reeled off the first of four runner-up finishes, including six furlongs in the mud Jan. 26 at Oaklawn in her last out. The gray breezed bullets at Hot Springs in her last two works, including four furlongs in :46 4/5 (1/29) Feb. 18.

Lukas has won the Oaks five times, the joint leader among all trainers in the race's history. His first was in 1982 with Blush With Pride (Blushing Groom {Fr}) and his most recent was with Secret Oath (Arrogate) in 2022.

Pedigree Notes:

The City Zip sire Collected, winner of the 2017 GI Pacific Classic, is the sire of Lemon Muffin and eight other black-type winners, including Meydan's Jan. 23 Al Bastikiya winner Killer Collect, who also finished runner-up in the Jan. 26 G3 UAE 2000 Guineas. Collected's four graded winners from his two crops to race include a trio of Grade II winners in 2023: Taxed, Conclude, and Kalik. He stands at Central Kentucky's Airdrie Stud, which has been associated in recent decades with a plethora of Kentucky Oaks winners.

The little-known Canadian Frontier, winner of the 2004 GIII Bold Ruler H. and a son of Gone West, is the broodmare sire of Lemon Muffin. He began his stud career at Airdrie before moving to Louisiana for the 2012 season and Saudi Arabia for 2014. Lemon Muffin is the fifth black-type winner out of one of his daughters. Another son of Gone West, the late Proud Citizen, also stood at Airdrie and is the broodmare sire of Collected's Conclude.

Pelt, an unraced half-sister to MGSW & GISP High Stakes Player (High Brite), has a 2-year-old filly named Body Language (American Freedom), who sold for $2,000 to McCutchen Training Center at Fasig-Tipton Kentucky's October yearling sale, and a yearling filly by Complexity. She was bred to Highly Motivated for this spring.

 

Saturday, Oaklawn Park
HONEYBEE S.-GIII, $400,000, Oaklawn, 2-24, 3yo, f, 1 1/16m, 1:45.60, ft.
1–LEMON MUFFIN, 117, f, 3, by Collected
                1st Dam: Pelt, by Canadian Frontier
                2nd Dam: Fee, by Spectacular Bid
                3rd Dam: Find, by Mr. Prospector
1ST BLACK TYPE WIN, 1ST GRADED STAKES WIN. ($20,000 Ylg '22 KEESEP; $140,000 2yo '23 OBSAPR). O-Aaron Sones; B-Mr. & Mrs. Theodore R. Kuster & Collected Syndicate (KY); T-D. Wayne Lukas; J-Keith J. Asmussen. $210,000. Lifetime Record: 6-1-4-0, $305,250. Werk Nick Rating: D+. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree. Click for the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree.
2–Tapit Jenallie, 117, f, 3, Tapit–Take Charge Tressa, by War Front. 1ST GRADED BLACK TYPE. O/B-Willis Horton Racing LLC (KY); T-Eddie Milligan, Jr. $70,000.
3–West Omaha, 122, f, 3, West Coast–Birthday Bash, by Medaglia d'Oro. 1ST GRADED BLACK TYPE. O/B-Gary & Mary West Stables Inc. (KY); T-Brad H. Cox. $35,000.
Margins: 3HF, HF, NK. Odds: 28.10, 22.60, 1.10.
Also Ran: Neom Beach, Midshipman's Dance, Band of Gold, In Just My Heels, Edistrudis, Honor Cat, Alys Beach.
Click for the Equibase.com chart and the TJCIS.com PPs. VIDEO, sponsored by FanDuel TV.

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