Honey Pants Saves Ground & Proves Gamest In Taking Grade III, $100,000 Las Cienegas Stakes
HONEY PANTS SAVES GROUND & PROVES GAMEST IN TAKING GRADE III, $100,000 LAS CIENEGAS STAKES AS DETTORI & D’AMATO TEAM FOR VICTORY
ARCADIA, CA (Jan. 14, 2024)—One of four Phil D’Amato-trained entrants, 6-year-old Honey Pants and 53-year-old riding legend Frankie Dettori teamed for a gutty head victory over well-fancied stablemate Elm Drive to take Sunday’s Grade III, $100,000 Las Cienegas Stakes at Santa Anita.
Breaking from post position two in a field of 11 older fillies and mares, Honey Pants was ridden aggressively from the gate and was a close fourth about four lengths off of Kissed by Fire at the half mile pole. Dettori held his position at the fence and was a length and a half off the lead at the dirt crossing as he waited for the pacesetter to drift out, which she did.
At that point, Honey Pants seized the initiative, taking the lead while tackled to her outside by Elm Drive and Flavien Prat and together, they raced as a team to the wire the final furlong with Honey Pants proving gamest on the day.
Most recently a troubled fifth in the ungraded Stormy Liberal going five furlongs on turf at Del Mar Dec. 2, Honey Pants was off at 19-1 and paid $40.40, $12.40 and $6.40.
Owned by Bakster Farm, LLC and Gerald Isbister, Honey Pants who is by Cairo Prince and is out of the Afternoon Deelites mare Queens Carousel, was paired for the first time with Dettori today and notched her first-ever stakes win as well. With $60,000 to the winner, Honey Pants increased her earnings to $357,406 from an overall mark of 22-4-8-2.
Elm Drive, who altered tactics today, rated mid-pack early but got what appeared to be a perfect trip with Prat as she awaited room leaving the dirt crossing and found a seam to the outside of the winner but couldn’t outrun her to the line.
The even money favorite, Elm Drive paid $3.00 and $2.40.
Gracelund Gray, who sat third to the top of the lane with Juan Hernandez, was fanned six-deep turning for home and appeared to have dead aim on the top two, but couldn’t go with them late.
Off at 6-1, she paid $4.80 to show while finishing three quarters of a length in front of French-bred Nadette.
Fractions on the race were 22.17, 43.99 and 1:06.46.
Racing resumes on Monday with first post time for a nine-race card at 12:30 p.m.