News and STORIES

Queen Bee To You Takes Bayakoa

Author: Don Mckee
Published: Tuesday December 10, 2019
Even after only getting three weeks of rest, Christopher St. Hilaire and Adam Vali's Queen Bee to You closed out her season with her first grades stakes win. She took the $100,351 Bayakoa Stakes (G3) Sunday at Los Alamitos Race Course. 

"We were (worried she was coming back too quick), and she's probably going to get 60 to 70 days off now," St. Hilaire said. "She's earned it, obviously. She's in such good form right now. We were in that pocket, and we wanted to stay there." 

Coming into Sunday's race after winning by 4 1/2 lengths in the Nov. 17 Betty Grable Stakes at Del Mar, Queen Bee to You broke strongly under Ruben Fuentes. Arctic Roll tried to take the lead and was guided to the rail from the outside, while Lady Suebee followed a length behind in second. 

The half-mile went in :47 flat as Fuentes and Queen Bee to You chased the leaders off the rail. They eventually angled out four wide as they went into the far turn, and Arctic Roll was challenged by Lady Suebee and tried to hold her lead. She fell back as they entered the top of the stretch. 

Queen Bee to You moved down the middle of the track and challenged Lady Suebee, whose lead did not last long. Queen Bee to You was a length ahead by midstretch, and she continued to pull away with Fuentes pushing her forward until they won by 3 1/2 lengths. The final time for 1 1/16 miles was 1:44.21 over a track rated good (sealed). 

"She is very sharp right now," Fuentes said. "She settled early and relaxed perfectly, and I knew she was loaded when I asked her for run."

Zusha split horses off the second turn as he made a bid for the front late in the race, and he was able to beat Lady Suebee by a neck for second. The order was completed by Kim K, Mongolian Humor, and Arctic Roll. 

Second Stakes Win at Los Alamitos

The Bayakoa was Queen Bee to You's second stakes win at Los Alamitos this season. Back on June 29, she defeated males in the Bertrando Stakes over one mile on the dirt. 

"There was a little hesitation running her back, but she came out of the (Betty Grable) so well, and we worked her back, and she went so spectacularly that we said we have to go for it," said trainer Andrew Lerner. "The plan wasn't to take her back that far, but she kind of missed the break a little bit. I could see she was traveling smoothly, and Ruben always does a fantastic job with her. They've done a great job with this track." 

The Bayakoa was Lerner's first graded win of his training career. 

"It's a huge accomplishment," Lerner said. "I'm so grateful for my team. My foreman Isidro (Hernandez) and I started with one horse we claimed (Gunslinger) 2 1/2 years ago, and now we have a stable of 45."

Daughter of Old Topper

Queen Bee to You was bred by Tommy Town Thoroughbreds, and she is the daughter of regional stallion Old Topper. She is the sixth foal out of the Touch Gold mare Silk Queen and the first to earn black type. She was claimed by St. Hilaire in December 2016 and went on to make her first four starts on the track after. 

"She's the best mare by far (we've claimed)," said St. Hilaire. "Candidly, I didn't know enough. If I had known what I know now, I may not have claimed her. I knew just enough, and she was our second horse. It was $50K, but she looked so strong coming out of that first race. She pulled so hard, and she looked so strong but had a bad trip, so we took a shot.

"It doesn't matter whether it's dirt or turf, short or long, she just gives it her all every time, and that's rare to come by." 

Queen Bee to You's record is now 7-11-5 from 32 starts, and her earnings are at 538,770.