Effie Trinket enjoyed her time in the airy round pens that ring the outside boundary of the Palm Meadows Training Center in Boynton Beach.
Thankfully the New York-bred daughter of Freud enjoys training just as much - maybe more so - and her connections hope she picks up where she left off in 2013 in Saturday's $200,000 Honey Fox Stakes at Gulfstream Park. Off since a bang-up second in the Grade 2 Mrs. Revere in mid-November at Churchill, Effie Trinket takes on seven others in the Grade 2 Honey Fox going 1 mile.
"When we ventured into graded stakes company, for her last race at Churchill, she ran terrific," trainer Rick Violette said earlier this month. "She ran her eyeballs out. We probably got to the lead a little early because she will idle a little bit and she did. She got caught, but she got caught in the last couple of jumps by a really, really good filly [Emotional Kitten] of Grade 1 quality."
The Mrs. Revere was Effie Trinket's seventh start of 2013 and she compiled a strong record of four wins, two seconds and a third in those outings. Two of the wins came in stakes company against fellow state-breds, the third against open company in the 7-furlong Diamondrella at Belmont. A little down time was well deserved.
"She went to Palm Meadows but we gave her a month," said Violette, who has unbeaten New York-bred Samraat on the Triple Crown trail. "She enjoyed getting turned out down here in the round pens and she loves it, but she loves her job. Her and Samraat, they just love to train. When the exercise rider comes around [to tack up], she knows it."
Effie Trinket was far from an overnight sensation in 2013. She showed promise as a 2-year-old, winning her first two starts on dirt and outworking older and more accomplished stablemate Gitchee Goomie on turf one morning in the fall of her juvenile campaign.
The promise in the morning on the grass didn't translate in the afternoon. Effie Trinket was ninth in the Grade 3 Miss Grillo and fourth in the Chelsea Flower, both in October at Belmont, before Violette said stop for the season. She didn't return until May and Violette didn't waver in his belief that she'd be a special filly on the grass.
"The way she had worked, her performance in the afternoon as a 2-year-old was really, really disappointing," Violette said. "In fact when I ran her back as a 3-year-old her first race was on the dirt. She needed it and was a good third that day. I was dying to get her back on the grass despite her turf races kind of being ordinary as a 3-year-old, just because she had done too much to impress us in the mornings."
Effie Trinket will meet some touch competition Saturday afternoon. The Honey Fox field also includes Parranda, winner of the Grade 3 Suwannee River at Gulfstream; Tapicat, third in the Grade 2 Buena Vista at Santa Anita; and Centre Court, a Grade 1 winner who won last year's Honey Fox. Not to mention Triple Charm, an English-bred Pivotal mare who won at the track and trip last time for Christophe Clement, and Kitten's Point, a daughter of Kitten's Joy who did the same and was third in last year's Grade 1 Ashland for Graham Motion.
The Honey Fox is the 10th race on Gulfstream's 11-race program that features a $3 million prize up for grabs in the Rainbow 6, a multi-race wager that requires a bettor to hold the only ticket with the winner of all six races to claim the jackpot.
Gulfstream management is pulling out all stops to entice participation in the Rainbow 6, first by streaming a handicapping show before the races and then offering a live stream of the six Rainbow 6 events. The Rainbow 6 hasn't been hit since January 10.