For Immediate Release

Contact: Jennifer Hoyt, Director of Racing

jhoyt@oaklawn.com or 501-363-4305

Wet Paint (Outside)

Photo credit: Coady Photography


HOT SPRINGS, AR (Friday, Feb. 24, 2023) – An evenly matched field of 12 is entered in the $300,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles Saturday at Oaklawn.

Probable post time for the Honeybee, the 10th of 12 races, is 4:43 p.m. (Central). Racing begins at noon. The card also features the $1 million Rebel Stakes (G2) for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles and the $150,000 Carousel Stakes for older fillies and mares at 6 furlongs. The infield, weather permitting, will be open for the first time this season.

The projected Honeybee field from the rail out: Effortlesslyelgant, Ricardo Santana Jr. to ride, 117 pounds, 20-1 on the morning line; Towhead, Isaac Castillo, 122, 9-2; Grand Love, Joel Rosario, 117, 3-1; Gambling Girl, Irad Ortiz Jr., 117, 12-1; Condensation, Francisco Arrieta, 122, 12-1; Take Charge Briana, Mickaelle Michel, 117, 20-1; Wet Paint, Flavien Prat, 122, 7-2; Defining Purpose, David Cabrera, 119, 9-2; Boss Lady Bailey, Florent Geroux, 117, 12-1; Doudoudouwanadance, James Graham, 117, 20-1; Olivia Twist, Cristian Torres, 119, 15-1; and Taxed, Rafael Bejarano, 117, 15-1.

The Honeybee will offer 100 points (50-20-15-10-5, respectively) to the top five finishers toward starting eligibility for the Kentucky Oaks, the country’s biggest race for 3-year-old fillies. The Honeybee is Oaklawn’s second of three points races for the Kentucky Oaks, a series that concludes with the $600,000 Fantasy Stakes (G3) at 1 1/16 miles April 1.

Honeybee program favorite Grand Love will be making her first start since finishing sixth, beaten six lengths by eventual Eclipse Award winner Wonder Wheel, in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) at 1 1/16 miles Nov. 4 at Keeneland. The speedy Grand Love races for her breeder, Three Chimneys Farm (Goncalo Torrealba), and Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen, who is seeking his record-tying sixth Honeybee victory.

“Talented filly,” Asmussen said. “Anxious to run her, get her 3-year-old year started.”

The Honeybee brings back Wet Paint, Taxed, Defining Purpose, Take Charge Briana and Olivia Twist, the 1-2-3-4-5 finishers, respectively, from the $200,000 Martha Washington Stakes at 1 1/16 miles Jan. 28. The Martha Washington was Oaklawn’s first Kentucky Oaks points race.

Wet Paint is perfect in two career starts on dirt for trainer Brad Cox. Both starts, including the Martha Washington, were over an off track.

“She’s doing well,” Cox said. “She had a good work this weekend. Looks like a larger field. Hopefully, that will give her a good pace to run into. It looks the track could be wet. She doesn’t seem to mind that. See how it goes. I’m excited about her.”

Taxed was beaten two lengths in the Martha Washington for trainer Randy Morse, who claimed the daughter of Grade 1 winner Collected for $50,000 Nov. 20 at Churchill Downs. Taxed, in her first start for Morse, finished fourth in the inaugural $150,000 Year’s End Stakes for 2-year-old fillies at 1 mile Dec. 31 at Oaklawn.

“If she’ll go forward just a little bit more,” Morse said.

Defining Purpose was a 5 ¼-length winner of the Year’s End, but weakened late as the even-money favorite in the Martha Washington.

“She wasn’t as good as she is now,” said retired jockey Robby Albarado, who regularly gets on Defining Purpose in the morning for McPeek. “She’s training a lot better now. Looking forward to that.”

Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas won his record sixth Honeybee last year with heavily favored Secret Oath, who also captured the Kentucky Oaks and was one of three finalists for an Eclipse Award as the country’s champion 3-year-old filly. Lukas will be represented Saturday by Take Charge Briana, who is seeking her first career stakes victory. Take Charge Briana was beaten 6 ½ lengths in the Martha Washington, her fifth consecutive stakes try. She also ran third in the Year’s End.

“We keep looking for her to show her real form,” Lukas said. "She’s training well enough to win that kind of a race. We just need her to step up and go for her ‘A’ game. Again, I keep looking for an improvement. Little bit immature, that filly is. Distance may help her. The extra sixteenth of a mile might help her.”

Towhead, trained by Mike Maker, bids for her third consecutive victory. She broke her maiden by 3 ¼ lengths at 1 1/16 miles Jan. 20 at Oaklawn in her last start.

Effortlesslyelgant exits a front-running 4 ¾-length maiden special weight victory sprinting for high-percentage trainer Norm Casse and prominent Arkansas owners Alex and JoAnn Lieblong. The Honeybee will mark just the third career start, and first around two turns, for Effortlesslyelgant, a daughter of Grade 1 winner Liam’s Map.

“To me, this is a tough test,” Casse said. “We’re jumping into the deep end of the pool. Skipping a condition; we’re running her in a stake. All that being said, we’re doing it while trying to route for the first time. But we’ve always felt like this filly was very, very talented. We’ve been excited about her from Day 1 and have always felt that she is a two-turn horse and here we are. Expecting her to run really well on Saturday.”

Shedaresthedevil, trained by Cox and co-owned by Staton Flurry of Hot Springs, also won the Honeybee and Kentucky Oaks in 2020.