January 29, 2022

New Money Honey, Mississippi Delta score in Belmont turf stakes

New Money Honey captures the Wonder Again Stakes (G3) with Javier Castellano aboard at Belmont Park on Thursday, June 8, 2017 (c) NYRA/Chelsea Durand/Adam Coglianese Photography

E Five Racing Thoroughbreds’ New Money Honey was sent off the even-money favorite in Thursday’s $200,000 Wonder Again Stakes (G3) at Belmont Park and easily wired the nine-furlong contest over the firm inner turf with jockey Javier Castellano aboard.

Trained by Chad Brown, the bay daughter of Medaglia d’Oro led every step of the way through splits of :24.44, :49.09, 1:13.69 and 1:36.66. Dream Dancing tracked in second, and was joined by Fifty Five in the lane, but neither runner could catch New Money Honey, who was two lengths clear on the wire in a final time of 1:48.01.

Fifty Five, also trained by Brown, got the better of Dream Dancing by 1 1/2 lengths on the line, while Coasted followed in fourth another 1 3/4 lengths behind. Enchanting Kitten, yet another Brown pupil, finished fifth while Corporate Queen completed the order across the wire.

New Money Honey is now 5-3-1-0, $807,017, in her career. The bay sophomore miss broke her maiden last October in the Miss Grillo Stakes (G3) at Belmont and parlayed that into Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) triumph at Santa Anita Park one month later.

That race concluded her two-year-old campaign, and New Money Honey didn’t show back up in competition until trying the Appalachian Stakes (G3) at Keeneland on April 13. She ran a subpar sixth that day, but got back to her winning ways in this spot.

Bred in Kentucky by WinStar Farm, New Money Honey is out of the unraced Distorted Humor mare Weekend Whim, who is a full sister to Grade 1-winning sire Any Given Saturday and a half-sibling to Grade 3 heroine Bohemian Lady.


Chad Brown, trainer New Money Honey (1st), Fifty Five (2nd), Enchanting Kitten (5th)

“There wasn’t much speed and, out of our three horses, she was the fastest. So, we figured we’d send one out there and let everyone go along. Since she was the fastest of the three horses, we sent her out to the lead and we’re happy with how she handled it. She ran very well.

“I thought Fifty Five ran a much better race this time. She got a better trip today. She was more forwardly placed today because of there wasn’t enough speed. I was very encouraged with how she ran, and it looks like she’ll improve with longer distances as well. I wanted all three of them to adapt to the pace and be there as far as they can. And they all were closer than they normally are.”

Javier Castellano, jockey New Money Honey, winner

“Heading into the race and looking at the field, I didn’t see too many horses that could keep up with her. My plan was to just dictate the pace and go to the lead. She was much the best. I give all the credit to Mr. (Chad) Brown. The way he’s been training that filly, I just enjoyed the ride.”


Mississippi Delta proves victorious in the Intercontinental Stakes (G3) with Jose Lezcano in the irons at Belmont Park on Thursday, June 8, 2017 (c) NYRA/Viola Jasko/Adam Coglianese Photography

Later on Belmont’s Thursday card, Mike Rutherford and Terry Green’s Mississippi Delta rallied for a head score in the $250,000 Intercontinental Stakes (G3) going seven furlongs on the firm Widener turf.

Jockey Jose Lezcano settled the Giant’s Causeway mare in sixth while four wide on the backstretch as Portmagee established fractions of :22.80, :45.38 and 1:08.22. Mississippi Delta came four wide into the stretch and collared Portmagee, then just held the fast closing Conquest Babayaga by a head to stop the clock in 1:20.05.

Portmagee finished three parts of a length behind Conquest Babayaga in third but a nose up on fourth-placer Fair Point. Lady Valeur followed in fifth while completing the order of finish were Outsider Art, Rapid Rhythm, 3-5 favorite Take These Chains, Josdesanimaux and Perfect Pic.

Trained by Mark Casse, Mississippi Delta entered the Intercontinental off a fourth in the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (G2), which followed a runner-up effort in the Honey Fox Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park on April 1. The bay mare kicked off her five-year-old campaign with an allowance/optional claiming win at Gulfstream in late February.

Mississippi Delta improved her record to read 19-7-3-1 and has banked $727,138 lifetime. She recorded her first graded victory in this spot but previously scored in three stakes contests, including last year’s Kentucky Downs Ladies Sprint.

Bred in Kentucky by Rutherford, Mississippi Delta is out of the Purge mare Texas to a Tee, making her a three-quarter sister to multiple Grade 2-winning millionaire Cowboy Cal. Her third dam, Hot Novel, is responsible for producing multiple Grade 1-winning millionaire and sire Behrens.


Mark Casse, trainer Mississippi Delta, winner

“That was interesting, because the filly that was flying on in (Conquest Babayaga) was my old filly that we sold in the Conquest dispersal. I felt like I was afraid the Preakness (G1) was going happen (again). (Trainer) Chad (Brown) got us (Classic Empire) in the Preakness (Cloud Computing); we got him this time.

“When she’s on her game, she’s on the bridle. I said to (son and assistant) Norman (Casse) about the quarter-pole, ‘He’s got horse. She’s going to run good.’ She looked good today.”

Jose Lezcano, jockey Mississippi Delta, winner

“I got a very good trip. She broke good and we were exactly where I wanted to be. Last time, she got very soft turf. I know she’s a nice filly and she’s better than what she showed last time. Today, the grass was perfect for her and she ran her race.”

Javier Castellano, jockey Take These Chains, eighth

“I didn’t have much excuse today. I was in a good spot but, unfortunately, she didn’t fire today. I don’t know for what reason, but she didn’t show up today.”