Up To The Challenge: Favorite Cairo Memories Outduels Island Of Love To Prevail In Honeymoon – Horse Racing News

Up To The Challenge: Favorite Cairo Memories Outduels Island Of Love To Prevail In Honeymoon – Horse Racing News


Cairo Memories wins the Honeymoon at Santa Anita

An impressive winner at the distance in her previous start, Cairo Memories stalked early leader Sterling Crest, made a narrow lead turning for home, and repelled a stiff challenge to her outside from recent stakes winner Island of Love to register an impressive 1 ¼-length win in Sunday’s $100,000 Honeymoon Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita.

Ridden by Mike Smith for trainer Bob Hess Jr., Cairo Memories, a 3-year-old filly by Cairo Prince, got 1 1/8 miles on turf in 1:48.67.

A 4 ½ length winner of the Providencia Stakes (G3) in gate-to-wire fashion on April 9 at Santa Anita, Cairo Memories adapted well to Sunday’s pace scenario as Irish-bred Sterling Crest, with Ramon Vazquez up, was intent on making the lead into the first turn.

“Last time, she had it all her own way, today she had to be tactical, got challenged, and kicked home nicely,” said Hess.  “It was a little tougher than we had hoped, but she ran well and I think she’ll run a little farther.  We’re looking at a few things, there’s the Belmont Oaks (G1, 1 ¼ miles on turf) on my birthday (July 9) and if all goes well, we’d like to come back to Del Mar and run in the Oaks (G1, 1 1/8 turf, Aug. 20) down there.”

The 1-2 favorite in a field of six sophomore fillies, Cairo Memories paid $3.

“As soon as competition comes to her, she just jumps right back in the bridle, which she did,” said Smith, who has ridden Cairo Memories in her last three starts. “It gave me the confidence to know that she was going to run down to the wire. She’s getting smarter about leaving the gate.  She used to have trouble leaving there early in her career, but she is getting better at it and hopefully, she continues to.”

Owned by Schroeder Farms and David Bernsen, Cairo Memories, who is out of the Indian Charlie mare Incarnate Memories, has now won three stakes over the Santa Anita lawn from as many tries.  With four wins from seven overall starts, she picked up $60,000 for the Honeymoon win, increasing her earnings to $352,500.

A winner of the Senorita Stakes (G3) at one mile on turf May 7, Irish-bred Island of Love was trying 1 1/8 miles for the first time Sunday in her fourth stateside start for Phil D’Amato. Third in the run to the far turn, she loomed ominously leaving the quarter pole as she headed the winner but could not go with her late in a determined effort.

Ridden by Juan Hernandez, Island of Love finished 1 ½ lengths in front of Ballet Dancing.

Off at 5-1 with Drayden Van Dyke, Ballet Dancing proved third-best, finishing 4 ¼ lengths in front of Sterling Crest.

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