Terra Promessa (Missile Bay, by Yes It’s True) suggested in an easy allowance win last month that she deserved a shot at the Oaks trail.
Today, she punched her ticket to Kentucky.
Today’s Oaklawn card featured the Honeybee Stakes (GIII), the second of three Kentucky Oaks points races during the winter meet. Though the field was small, it was wide-open.
In her stakes debut, Terra Promessa would face a trio of stakes winners. Stablemate Nickname had won the Grade I Frizette last year. Marquee Miss had won a trio of stakes races (including two at Oaklawn). Cosmic Evolution, a sharp allowance winner in her previous start, had broken her maiden in the Debutante Stakes at Churchill last year.
Dorodansa had been right in the mix several times in stakes company. Only She’s a Bootsy Too joined Terra Promessa in the ranks of fillies making their stakes debuts, but she had strong local form to go with her.
In addition to the class rise, Terra Promessa would also face mud for the first time in the Honeybee. Though she had never run on an off track before, her pedigree suggested she could take to it. Curlin won a Breeders’ Cup Classic in the slop, and his babies have won 14% of the time over off going. Missile Bay won twice over off tracks, and produced a slop winner in Awesome Arceno.
Between her race record and her beautiful breeding, the potential was there.
Terra Promessa got out of the gate well, but was in tight between Nickname and Marquee Miss going into the first turn. She was a bit wide through it, but settled well. By the time the field turned into the backstretch, she was about two and a half lengths off of pacesetter Cosmic Evolution — alone, comfortable, as Nickname and Marquee Miss advanced to press the pacesetter.
As the field approached the far turn, Terra Promessa began her run. She tipped out, went around the fading Marquee Miss, and swept past Nickname. Turning for home, she and Cosmic Evolution battled for a few strides, but Terra Promessa had the best of it. She drew off quickly and easily, crossing the wire six and a half lengths clear, and leaving Nickname and Cosmic Evolution to settle the question of who would be second.
The future looks bright for Terra Promessa. She now has three wins going a mile and a sixteenth, and has shown her form over both a fast track and an off track. She has 50 Kentucky Oaks points, virtually assuring her a spot in the gate. She even has form over the track at Churchill; she broke her maiden there last November.
With Stageplay and Cced in his barn, Steve Asmussen has a bumper crop of promising three-year-old Curlin fillies. However, after today, Terra Promessa has made her case for why she might prove the best of that group. She relishes a route of ground, she passed her class test today, and she will be exciting to follow going forward.