May 27, 2024

Lake Avenue returns in Busher; Honeybee attracts nine Oaks prospects

Lake Avenue Maiden
Lake Avenue romped in her maiden victory (NYRA/Coglianese Photos)

They dominated the major 2-year-old filly races at Aqueduct last fall, and on Saturday Lake Avenue and Maedean will renew acquaintance over the Queens track in the $250,000 Busher Invitational.

The 1-mile Busher, along with the $300,000 Honeybee (G3) at Oaklawn Park over 1 1/16 miles, are both Road to the Kentucky Oaks series preps that will award qualifying points of 50-20-10-5 to their respective top four finishers.

The Godolphin homebred Lake Avenue, who romped by more than 12 lengths against maiden foes in November, was back four weeks later and led throughout again in the nine-furlong Demoiselle (G2), defeating Maedean by four lengths. The latter was similarly impressive in her prior start, taking the 1-mile Tempted S. by 5 1/2 lengths.

“She’s doing excellent,” trainer Mark Hennig said of Maedean who, like Lake Avenue, is a daughter of Tapit. “The race is a good starting point. Ultimately, she wants more ground.”

Another who might want more distance is Mo City, who ran out of it when missing by a neck in the 7-furlong Gasparilla S. at Tampa Bay Downs on Jan. 18.

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Nine will line up in the Honeybee, with stakes newcomer Alta’s Award likely to attract attention. The Steve Asmussen trainee comes in off back-to-back wins over the 1 1/16-mile trip at Fair Grounds, the latter a head score in a first-level allowance.

Motu, a close second to Finite in the Golden Rod (G2) two back, will look to rebound from a third-place finish in the Suncoast S. at Tampa Bay Downs, where she finished three parts of a length behind runner-up Turtle Trax.

Second in an Oaklawn allowance in her debut for Brad Cox, Grade 2-placed Shedaresthedevil is eligible to improve in this spot, while Ring Leader stretches out after scoring by a half-length in the 6-furlong Dixie Belle S. earlier in the meet.