Horse Racing

2024 Honeybee Stakes Betting Odds and Contenders Preview

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2024 Honeybee Stakes Betting Odds and Contenders Preview

Three-year-old fillies take the stage on Saturday, February 24, at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas, for the Grade 3 Honeybee Stakes. The 1 1/16-mile dirt race is the second of three stakes races on Oaklawn’s racing calendar for Oaks-bound fillies. It started Feb. 3 with the Martha Washington Stakes, continues through the Honeybee, and finishes with the Fantasy Stakes (G3) on March 30.

The Honeybee drew a field of 10 sophomore fillies with Kentucky Oaks aspirations, including both proven stakes horses and runners still trying to prove themselves in stakes races. The spoils are rich: a $400,000 purse and 50-25-15-10-5 points on the road to the Kentucky Oaks. It practically guarantees the winner a spot in the Kentucky Oaks and puts other horses who run well on the way, too.

The winner of the Fantasy Stakes has gone on to win the Kentucky Oaks in two of the last four years. Shedaresthedevil (2020) won both races, as did Secret Oath (2022). Last year’s winner, Wet Paint, though she was the beaten favorite in the Kentucky Oaks, won the Fantasy Stakes and the Coaching Club American Oaks (G1).

Honeybee Stakes 2024 Information

  • Race Date: Saturday, February 24, 2024
  • Track: Oaklawn
  • Post Time: 4:10 p.m. Central Standard Time
  • Distance: 1 1/16 miles
  • Age/Sex: three-year-old fillies
  • Where to Watch: FanDuel TV
  • Where to Bet: TVG.com and FanDuel Racing

Honeybee Stakes Odds

This is the official ten-horse field for the 2024 Honeybee Stakes. It includes post positions, trainers, jockeys, and morning-line odds for each runner.

Post
Horse
Trainer
Jockey
Odds
1Alys BeachTom AmossJulien Leparoux10-1
2Band of GoldKen McPeekBrian Hernandez2-1
3Honor CatRobertino DiodoroHarry Hernandez15-1
4Neom BeachSteve AsmussenTyler Gaffalione8-1
5EdistrudisFausto GutierrezIsaac Castillo30-1
6West OmahaBrad CoxCristian Torres7-5
7Lemon MuffinD. Wayne LukasKeith Asmussen30-1
View Full Table

Honeybee Stakes Prep Results

Three of the ten runners come out of the previous race on the Oaklawn spur of the Road to the Kentucky Oaks: the Martha Washington. Winner Band of Gold attempts to carry her form further down the trail, and she will see both third-place Neom Beach and fourth-place Tapit Jenallie in the Honeybee. Two others in the field come out of a different stakes at Oaklawn Park, the six-furlong Mockingbird. Midshipman’s Dance rallied to win the race, while Edistrudis flattened out to fourth.

Two other horses in the field come out of the Kentucky Oaks points races. The only one who comes out of graded-stakes company is Alys Beach, who was most recently third in the Alcibiades (G1) last fall at Keeneland and makes her sophomore debut in the Honeybee. West Omaha, the morning-line favorite, romped in the Silverbulletday on January 20 and now tries the Oaklawn stakes program on for size.

The last three runners each come out of maiden special weight races at Oaklawn, and each will face winners for the first time in the Honeybee. Honor Cat easily wired a muddy mile on January 12, while In Just My Heels pressed and took over in a 1 1/16-mile race on February 2. Lemon Muffin, the only maiden in the field, has been a close second in her last four races and tries two turns for the first time in this spot.

Honeybee Stakes Contenders

These are the contenders in the 2024 Honeybee Stakes, organized by post position:

Alys Beach: She won her one-turn debut at Saratoga and then ran twice in graded stakes races afterward. She flattened to sixth after setting the pace in the Alcibiades, and instead of pressing her on to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, trainer Brad Cox put her on the shelf until this prep. The inner post in a big field can be challenging, but she did make the lead from the inside in the Alcibiades and also showed a tactical gear in her maiden win.

Band of Gold: For a horse who won the local prep, she still has quite a bit to prove. Her debut maiden win came against off-turf foes, and her Martha Washington win came in the slop. That race did come back fast, and she has proven she can pass horses. However, make sure to demand enough of a price to cover for the fact that she has to prove herself on a fast track against real dirt horses.

Honor Cat: It took her five starts to get off the mark, but she broke her maiden last month at Oaklawn and now steps into graded-stakes company for the first time. She won on the front end, but two back ran a very good second from a stalking spot. Trainer Robertino Diodoro shines with last-out maidens, the step up in trip should suit her pedigree, and she doesn’t need much of a step up from her last dry-track race to be an exotics contender in this.

Neom Beach: She broke her maiden three back over this distance, and has nabbed placings in a pair of stakes races at Oaklawn since. She has been well beaten in those races, suggesting that she does need to take a step forward to be a serious win candidate, but she has the tactical speed and consistency to figure for exotics.

Edistrudis: With seven races, she is the most experienced horse in the field, but her only wins have come in a maiden sprint at Ellis and an allowance sprint at Horseshoe Indianapolis. Her sprint speed should probably have her close to the pace, but this is a difficult spot to try two turns for the first time, and her pedigree is a bit more oriented to sprinter-miler trips.

West Omaha: Instead of staying in Louisiana for that spur of the Oaks trail, the Silverbulletday mixes it up for trainer Brad Cox and comes to Oaklawn instead. Her Silverbulletday win was solid: not only was it a five-length victory, but it showed good tactical speed. Furthermore, in terms of speed figures, she has room to improve off that effort, making her a serious contender.

Lemon Muffin: She has run five times, making her one of the more experienced runners, but she has yet to win a race. She came as close as ever last out when trying blinkers for the first time, and perhaps the stretch out to two turns for the first time can move her forward. However, this is a tougher group, and she needs to take a significant step forward, making her a long shot for a reason.

Tapit Jenallie: She won her first two races at Remington and Delta, though she has yet to be a serious threat against stakes horses at Oaklawn in her last two starts. To her credit, she is versatile enough to win from close to the pace or a few lengths off of it, and her pedigree is thoroughly two-turn, but she has yet to win at a route and will need to take a sharp step forward to compete in a race like this right now.

In Just My Heels: She came up flat in her first two starts, but woke up to win in frontrunning fashion at 24-1 odds over this course and distance on February 2. The post isn’t a bad one for carving out a clean outside-stalking trip, though she has yet to run a race that is anywhere near fast enough to be a win candidate in this spot.

Midshipman’s Dance: She is undefeated in two starts, both of which came over the Oaklawn dirt. However, both of those races came at six-furlong trips, leaving her with distance ability to prove. That said, 1 1/16 miles should be within the abilities of her pedigree. With a proven ability to pass horses, she should be able to find a place to drop in and make a solid late run at a price.

Honeybee Stakes Past Winners Past Performances

The Martha Washington Stakes has been the key prep for recent editions of the Honeybee. Out of the last ten winners of the Honeybee, six have come out of the Martha Washington. The last three winners of this race all won the local prep: Will’s Secret (2021), Secret Oath (2022), and Wet Paint. Three others finished in the money: Euphrosyne (2014) and Sarah Sis (2015) were all second in the Martha Washington, while Cosmic Burst (2018) was third.

The four other winners in the last ten years all came out of allowance company, though three of those four winners who came from allowances were already stakes-placed. It Tiz Well (2017) came out of an allowance win at Santa Anita but was already graded-placed; Chocolate Kisses (2019) came out of a Fair Grounds allowance win but placed in listed company before that. Shedaresthedevil (2020), second in an allowance at Oaklawn before winning the Honeybee, was also already graded-stakes placed. Terra Promessa (2016) came out of an allowance win at Oaklawn and won her stakes debut in the Honeybee.

Honeybee Stakes Undercard

The Honeybee Stakes is the ninth of 12 races on Oaklawn Park’s Saturday card. The feature race is the $1.25 million Rebel Stakes (G2), a 50-point prep for the Kentucky Derby. The card features two other stakes as well: the $600,000 Razorback (G3) for handicap horses and the $150,000 Carousel for older sprint fillies and mares.

With three-year-old action and big fields all day long, Saturday is an excellent day to bet Oaklawn. Stay tuned to FanDuel TV all day for the latest news and live footage of the races, and make sure to wager on the card through FanDuel and TVG!

Oaklawn Park History

Back in 1905, the Hot Springs Mayor declared a half-day holiday for the opening of Oaklawn Park, with over 3,000 people attending the track on its first day of racing. The holiday heralded the beginning of a tradition that has lasted for over a century!

Due to political issues, no racing took place at Oaklawn between 1907 and 1916 but after a sustained period of action, the now-famous Arkansas Derby was inaugurated in 1936 with a purse of $5,000 offered to entrants.

By 1952, Oaklawn could boast daily attendances of almost 8,000 people and an average daily handle of well over $400,000, figures which rose by the turn of the decade to 10,000 and $500,000, respectively, with the Arkansas Derby purse increasing to $50,000 by 1965.

The track continued to go from strength to strength, and during a 50-day meeting in 1970 an average of 11,000 people were attending daily, with over $43,000,000 wagered over the course of the meet.

In the mid-70s, Oaklawn gave birth to the Racing Festival of the South, with pari-mutuel wagering amounting to a cool $80,000,000 that season, and by the 80s, over a quarter of a million people were attending the festival each year. By then, the purse for the Arkansas Derby was up at $500,000, and a new single-day attendance record was set with 71,000 showing up to see Rampage win the big race in 1986.

Ten years later, Arkansas Derby day saw a total handle of over $10.5 million, and by the turn of the millennium, Oaklawn was still seeing increases in attendance and wagering, meaning the track stands as one of the best in the country at present.

Honeybee Stakes FAQ

Q: When is the Honeybee Stakes?

A: The 2024 Honeybee Stakes will be run on Saturday, February 24, at 4:10 p.m. Central Standard Time. The race is the ninth of 12 on the Oaklawn card.

Q: Where is the Honeybee Stakes?

A: It takes place at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas

Q: Which trainer has the most wins in the Honeybee Stakes?

A: D. Wayne Lukas has trained the most Honeybee winners, with six; his first was Lost Kitty, the race’s very first winner in 1988, while his most recent was Secret Oath in 2022. Lukas will try to extend his record in 2024 with Lemon Muffin.

Q: Who is the favorite for the 2024 Honeybee Stakes?

A: West Omaha is the 7-5 morning-line favorite for the Honeybee for trainer Brad Cox, coming off of an emphatic win in the Silverbulletday at Fair Grounds. The other horse who might end up favored at post time is Band of Gold, the 2-1 second choice on the morning line. Band of Gold enters off of a victory in the Martha Washington, the traditionally live local prep.

Q: Who is the best Honeybee Stakes jockey?

A: Jockey Donald Pettinger has won the most editions of the Honeybee: he won three straight from 2002 through 2004. All of the jockeys in the 2024 edition are looking for their first victory in the race.

Q: Who won the 2023 Honeybee Stakes?

A: Wet Paint won the 2023 Honeybee Stakes for trainer Brad Cox and jockey Flavien Prat. Prat does not have a call in this year’s edition, but Cox sends out morning-line favorite West Omaha with jockey Cristian Torres.

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