Mon, 03/11/2019 - 11:24

Chocolate Kisses made a powerful late surge to overtake pacesetting favorite Motion Emotion in the shadow of the wire to win the GIII Honeybee S. at Oaklawn Park Saturday. Off a tad awkwardly, the bay filly raced at the back of the field as the freewheeling favorite powered along on the front end through fractions of :22.46 and :45.99. Chocolate Kisses began picking off foes on the turn, but was still well back of Motion Emotion, who had a three-length advantage at the top of the lane. Chocolate Kisses stormed up five wide into the stretch, shadowing the move of Bizwacks, but she drifted to the inside before finding her best stride and surging past the pacesetter in the final sixteenth.

“I mean she had things go perfect. It set up,” admitted winning trainer Mark Casse. “They ran fast, but she got in a little trouble early and then she made a big wide move and she just kept going. I was proud of her.”

Jockey Jon Court was happy with the performance of the beaten favorite.

“She left there running, but she came back to me,” Court said. “The track’s been fast all day. She handled it pretty well. She still had a punch at the end. It took what it took to get by her in the final strides. She was fighting to the end.”

But trainer Tom Van Berg said the fast pace led to the favorite’s runner-up effort.

“You can’t go a mile and a sixteenth going :22 2/5,” Van Berg said. “It’s just unfortunate. In my opinion, she was the best and she should have won that race.”

Chocolate Kisses graduated in her second trip to the post over the lawn at Saratoga last July and was third over that course in the Aug. 30 P.G. Johnson S. before returning to the main track to be fourth in the Oct. 5 GI Darley Alcibiades S. She lost the rider at the start of the Oct. 28 Rags to Riches S. to conclude her juvenile campaign. Once again on the turf for her sophomore debut, the bay filly scored by 1 1/2 lengths in a one-mile optional claimer at Fair Grounds Jan. 18.

Pedigree Notes:

Chocolate Kisses’ dam, Brownie Points, won the Martha Washington S. and was second in the Honeybee S. over the Oaklawn strip in 2006. The mare’s Oaklawn resume also includes a runner-up effort in the GI Apple Blossom S.

John and Debby Oxley purchased Chocolate Kisses for $410,000 at the 2017 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale. Her half-brother by More Than Ready RNA’d for $190,000 at last year’s Keeneland September Yearling Sale. Chocolate Kisses produced a colt by Pioneerof the Nile in 2018 and was bred back to Mastery.

SOURCE: TDN 3/9/2019