A handicapper’s delight will close out the 2010 racing season at Monmouth Park as an 11-race card is on tap this Sunday, with a total of 130 horses entered on the program. Leading the action is the $70,000 Honey Bee Stakes, which goes as race nine.
Named for the state insect of New Jersey, the Honey Bee has drawn a contentious field of nine fillies and mares. One of those fillies has been knocking on the door of the winner’s circle all year and hopes the Honey Bee will be her ticket to a post-race photo. That filly is Debonair Darling. After five outings in 2010, she sports four runner-up finishes and a third, all at Monmouth.
“She’s been terrific this year, just a little snake bitten,” said Gregg Sacco, who conditions the 4-year-old for John Brunetti’s Red Oak Stable. “She loves Monmouth, it’s her home track and she should fire on Sunday.”
Debonair Darling just missed in the Politely Stakes last out on Sept. 19, beaten a neck after setting the pace. She’ll enter the Honey Bee off two months rest, all by design.
“After the last race we gave her time and decided to point for this race,” Sacco said. “This has been the target. She’s fresh and ready.”
As for tactics in Sunday’s mile event, “She doesn’t need the front,” Sacco said. “She’s very effective on the lead, but doesn’t need it. There’s some speed in there and I’ll leave it up to Elvis (jockey Trujillo) either to send her or sit just off the speed. We’ll see how it plays out when the gates open.”
From 11 lifetime starts, Debonair Darling sports a record of 2-5-2. From eight outings in Oceanport, the daughter of Formal Dinner from the Unbridled mare Darling Bride, has never been off the board.
The field for the Honey Bee, from the rail out is: Island Time, Nicksappealinglady, Stage Trick, Check Point, Debonair Darling, Solo Piano, Talkin About Love, Emily Allstar, Ask the Moon. The stakes event has an estimated post time of 3:32 p.m.