Collected’s Lemon Muffin Wins the Honeybee Stakes (G3) paying out $58.20

The legendary D. Wayne Lukas was back to his old tricks Feb. 24 as his 3-year-old filly Lemon Muffin shocked the Oaklawn Park fans at odds of 28-1 while earning her maiden win in the $400,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3).

Eighth on debut at Keeneland Oct. 6, the daughter of Collected proceeded to finish second in four consecutive maiden races at Churchill Downs and Oaklawn. With this record, it may have been a surprise to many seeing her name in the starting gate for a Kentucky Oaks (G1) prep race, but Lukas is never one to shy from a challenge and he thought a stretch-out would help.

Lemon Muffin, gr/ro, 3/f
Collected — Pelt, by Canadian Frontier

Owner: Aaron Sones
Breeder: Mr. & Mrs. Theodore R. Kuster & Collected Syndicate (KY)
Trainer: D. Wayne Lukas
Jockey: Keith J. Asmussen
Information provided by Equibase at time of entry.

Pedigree Notes
Collected stands at Airdrie Stud for $10,000 (2024).

Sale History
OBSAPR2023 • $140,000 • Consignor: Dark Star Thoroughbreds • Buyer: Bruno DeBerdt, agent.
KEESEP2022 • $20,000 • Consignor: Shawhan Place, for Mr. & Mrs. Theodore R. Kuster • Buyer: Dark Star Thoroughbreds.

“She’d been dying to go two turns,” Lukas said of the difference maker today, “I knew it and I kind of handicapped her and kept her short a couple of times.”

The Honeybee at 1 1/16 miles was Lemon Muffin’s first start beyond seven furlongs. However, the decision to take the shot against stakes company did not come from Lukas.

“I’ve got to give credit to the owner,” Lukas said. “Aaron Sones called me and said ‘Would you have the (guts) to put her in the Honeybee?’ I said, ‘Yes, I think that’s where we ought to go.’ So he pushed me in that direction and I loved it.”

Breaking from post 7 in the 10-horse field, Lemon Muffin found herself in tight quarters for a moment as longshot Tapit Jenallie came in a bit to her outside while trying to gain position. On her inside, favored West Omaha came over a touch while trying to keep from clipping heels with a more forward-placed rival.

Jockey Keith Asmussen kept Lemon Muffin directly outside the favorite, keeping West Omaha from getting in the clear. Asmussen allowed his mount to inch closer down the backside through fractions of :23.60, :48.32, and 1:13.87.

“I told Keith ‘Don’t wait too long. Send her, she’s ready to go,'” Lukas said. With the victory, Asmussen landed the first graded stakes win of his career.

Turning for home, Tapit Jenallie assumed the lead with Lemon Muffin hot on her tail. The maiden drew up alongside her rival and, maybe getting a little payback for the start, drifted in as the two bumped before Lemon Muffin drew off to win convincingly by 3 1/2 lengths, stopping the clock in 1:45.60.

Emmanuel Esquivel aboard Tapit Jenallie lodged an objection against the winner. The stewards did not take long to dismiss the claim as the filly held off the troubled West Omaha for second.

Lemon Muffin rewarded her backers with a $58.20 payout for a $2 win bet. The victory also rewarded Sones as her career earnings jumped to $305,250.

Bred by Mr. and Mrs. Theodore Kuster and Collected Syndicate, Lemon Muffin was most recently purchased for $140,000 at the 2023 Ocala Breeders’ Sales Spring Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training.

A prep race on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks, Lemon Muffin earned 50 qualifying points for her maiden victory, jumping toward the top of the Oaks leaderboard.

Lukas hopes this won’t be Asmussen’s last graded stakes win aboard his horse.

Lukas asked Asmussen after the race, “Keith, are you open for the Oaks?”