Devil House streak in jeopardy
HOT SPRINGS, Ark. -- Devil House streaks into the $100,000 Honeybee at Oaklawn Park on Friday, and to secure her sixth consecutive win she figures to have to fend off High Heels.
The Honeybee, a 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-old fillies, serves as a prep for the Grade 2, $250,000 Fantasy here April 6.
Devil House has met every challenge. She won her maiden in her second start July 23 and has not lost since, among her wins the Bassinet at River Downs and the Dixie Belle and Martha Washington, both here.
Devil House made her two-turn debut in the one-mile Martha Washington, and led throughout for a five-length win on Feb. 18. Following the race, Devil House was scheduled to skip the Honeybee and await the Fantasy, but those plans changed, said her trainer, Terry Gestes.
"She just came out of the race full of herself, so we just decided to go ahead and run," Gestes said. "I look for her to run a really good race; a little bit tougher competition."
High Heels, who was third in the Grade 2 Golden Rod at Churchill Downs in November, comes into the Honeybee off a fifth-place finish in the Grade 3 Silverbulletday at Fair Grounds on Feb. 10. Before that race, she was an eight-length allowance winner at Oaklawn on Jan. 21.
"She's doing super," said Gary Hartlage, who trains High Heels. "She couldn't be coming into the race any better than she's coming into it."
In the Silverbulletday, the versatile High Heels was taken back early in anticipation of a fast pace, but it did not materialize. The plan is different for the Honeybee.
"I don't think we'll be coming from as far back this time," said Hartlage. "I'd like for her to be laying third or fourth."
High Heels should get a nice tracking trip off Devil House and Cat on a Cloud.
Hartlage has given the mount to Joe Johnson.
Terry Thompson will ride Devil House, who drew post 5.
"The way she broke and ran the route last time, it looks like she'll either be close to the lead or on the lead, depending on Cat on a Cloud," said Gestes.
Another threat is Miss Goodnight, who had a troubled trip from the rail in the Martha Washington. She drew post 7, and trainer Tim Ritchey has given the mount to Stewart Elliott.
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