It Tiz Well joins Road to the Kentucky Oaks

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Jen Caldwell

March 12th, 2017

There’s only one race to report on this week in terms of the May 5 Kentucky Oaks (G1), and that is the Honeybee Stakes (G3), which took place at Oaklawn Park on Saturday, March 11.

The 1 1/16-mile race drew a competitive group of 11 fillies but one managed to stand out from them all. That would It Tiz Well, who comes from the same shedrow as division leader Unique Bella.

Both fillies are trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, and it makes sense to separate them for the time being. While Unique Bella remains on target for the Santa Anita Oaks (G1) on April 8, Hollendorfer shipped It Tiz Well to Oaklawn Park for the Honeybee.

It proved to be a smart move.

The Arch filly was sent off the near 3-1 second choice and settled behind the front-running duo of Someday Soon and Tapa Tapa Tapa while running outside of Chanel’s legacy. Those four maintained their positions down the backstretch until nearing the turn when It Tiz Well moved up on the outside to challenge Tapa Tapa Tapa and Someday Soon. Benner Island, who had been tracking behind It Tiz Well, also began her rally and found herself four wide on the turn.

It Tiz Well and Benner Island soon left Tapa Tapa Tapa behind, battling it out in the lane briefly before It Tiz Well pulled off for the one-length victory. She ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.61, setting a new stakes record for the Honeybee.

Elate, the 9-5 favorite, rallied to stick her neck in front of Tapa Tapa Tapa on the wire to claim third.

It was a quartet of firsts for It Tiz Well in the Honeybee: she was making her first start outside of California, trying a two-turn contest for the first time and had Corey Nakatani in the irons for the first time. None of that held the dark bay miss back, as she added a first stakes win to her resume.

Previously, It Tiz Well mixed it up with Unique Bella in the Santa Ynez Stakes (G2), which came just three weeks after she broke her maiden by 10 lengths at Los Alamitos. The Kentucky-bred lass round up a well-beaten second, which is probably what encouraged Hollendorfer to send her to Oaklawn.

It Tiz Well earned four points toward a starting berth in the Kentucky Oaks when running second in the Santa Ynez, but on Saturday took home 50 points thanks to her Honeybee victory. The Southern California-based miss could find herself shipping back to Hot Springs, Arkansas, as Hollendorfer said Sunday the April 14 Fantasy Stakes (G3) is now on the table. That 8 1/2-furlong affair is worth 100 points to the winner.

“I think we might try to look at that,” the Hall of Fame trainer stated. “That might come up a little tougher, but at least she handled the track and she did what we wanted her to do on this trip.”

So while Unique Bella continues on the California Road to the Kentucky Oaks, It Tiz Well could face off against Benner Island on the Arkansas path to the Run for the Lilies. All the roads, paths, trails and flights converge May 5 at Churchill Downs under the famed Twin Spires.