Honey Dijon Turns Tables In My Dear Girl; Owner-Breeder, Jockey, Sire Girvin Sweep FFS Finales – Horse Racing News
Honey Dijon got the better of heavily favored R Harper Rose to win the $300,000 My Dear Girl, giving owner-breeder Brad Grady, jockey Paco Lopez and sire Girvin, a sweep of both FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes series finales Saturday at Gulfstream Park.
Honey Dijon ($8) saved ground along the inside behind pacesetting R Harper Rose, who was undefeated in three starts, before swinging to the outside on the turn into the homestretch and wearing down the 3-5 favorite to win by 2¾ lengths under Lopez, who rode three winners on Saturday’s 11-race program.
The Joe Sharp trainee’s second victory in five starts in the 1 1/16-mile FSS fillies final followed Jack Sisterson-trained Seminole Chief’s 12-1 upset score for Grady and partner David Grund, Lopez, and former Ocala Stud sire Girvin in the 1 1/16-mile FSS colts and geldings final.
Honey Dijon, who broke her maiden at Saratoga by 5¾ lengths in her second career start, had finished second behind R Harper Rose by four lengths in the Oct. 21 FSS Susan’s Girl at seven furlongs.
“I was really happy to see her be able to stretch out like that. It looks like she’s an improving filly,” said Sharp, who watched Honey Dijon’s triumph from Fair Grounds. “This opens up a who new door for us. We’re going to give her a little freshening for her 3-year-old campaign.”
R Harper Rose finished second, 7¼ lengths ahead of Haunted, in her first start around two turns. R Harper Rose, a daughter of Khozan, set sharp fractions of :23.19 and :46.78 for the first half mile before tiring in the stretch.
“We got beat. She ran her race and just got beat. That’s all you can say,” R Harper Rose’s trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. said. “She got beat fair and square, no excuses. We’ll give her a little break and then backtrack with her.”
Due to an untimely fever, R Harper Rose was scratched from the $100,000 Desert Vixen, the six-furlong first leg of the FSS series Sept. 9 for which she had been installed as the 7-5 morning-line favorite on the strength of a dazzling 6¼-length front-running debut romp Aug. 5. She bounced back quickly with a sharp 5¾-length front-running optional claiming allowance triumph at 5½ furlongs Sept. 22 before running away with the $200,000 FSS Susan’s Girl by fourth lengths Oct. 21.
Honey Dijon, who is out of the Empire Maker mare Archangelus, ran 1 1/16-miles in 1:45.60.
Girvin was relocated from Ocala Stud to Airdrie Stud in Midway, Ky. for the 2023 breeding season.