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LOUISVILLE, KY – After she finished sixth as the 8/5 favorite in last year’s edition, owner/breeder Juddmonte Farms and trainer Brad Cox are seeking vengeance for Juliet Foxtrot in Saturday night’s $150,000 Old Forester Mint Julep Stakes (G3) at Churchill Downs.
The Mint Julep is a 1 1/6-mile turf route open to fillies and mares ages 4 and up. This year’s edition is the ninth event on an 11-race card and has a local post time of 10:11 PM.
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Here’s a look at the full field for the Mint Julep:
1. Mintd 12/1 – Her second start of the year follows a rallying victory against optional claimers going a mile over the local course on April 30 in what was her first race since last July. The Irish-bred’s Beyer Speed Figures have improved in each of her 4 starts since coming stateside at the beginning of 2020 and trainer Brendan Walsh connects at 19% with horses making second starts after similar layoffs.
2. Juliet Foxtrot 6/5 – She aced her 2021 debut with a front-running victory going this distance over a yielding Keeneland turf course in April’s Jenny Wiley Stakes (G1) in her first start after a 4-month hiatus. Cox’s barn hits at 25% with runners making second starts after similar layoffs and the likely post time favorite keeps the riding services of Tyler Gaffalione, aboard in the Jenny Wiley.
3. Hendy Woods 6/1 – The first of two Mark Casse trainees returned from a 7-month break to grind out a head victory against optional claimers while going a local turf mile on May 14, tying her career-best Beyer Speed Figure (89) in the process. She loses last-out rider Gaffalione to her rival directly inside but still has every right to improve in her second start of the year under new rider Florent Geroux.
4. Vezpa 30/1 – The Brazilian-bred rallied from off the pace to win her American racing debut, a local 1-mile route against allowance rivals in late April. She broke her maiden going 7 1/2 furlongs on debut and finished third by a 1/2-length in her only other try, a 7-furlong stakes; both came last year in Uruguay. Jockey Joe Talamo and trainer Paulo Lobo have won 4 of their past 17 shared mounts (24%).
5. Lashara 20/1 – Casse’s second entry made a mild rally to finish fourth in last month’s Powder Break Stakes, a Gulfstream Park turf mile route. The 4-year-old daughter of 2015 Triple Crown champion American Pharoah has done her best running at this distance (3-1-2-0 record) and picks up new rider Julien Leparoux, who’s 0 for his last 9 when riding for Casse at Churchill Downs but 3 for 15 elsewhere.
6. Dominga 8/1 – The morning line favorite’s stablemate broke her maiden on debut over this course and distance as a juvenile, then won 2 of her next 4 starts including the 2020 LaCombe Memorial Stakes at Fair Grounds. She’s winless in her past 5 starts, however, and only hit the board once in that period – finishing second by a neck in the 1 1/16-mile 2021 Benson Memorial Stakes at Fair Grounds.
7. Flash N’ Dance 30/1 – Her recent hot streak hits the big leagues after winning a pair of 7 1/2-furlong turf routes against Indiana Grand optional claimers last month. Undefeated in 3 career starts on turf (she defeated $10k starter allowance rivals at Kentucky Downs last September), this is her toughest class test yet, but her early turn of foot means she’ll factor into the final results, one way or another.
8. Tuned 12/1 – She returns from a 2-month break still seeking her first victory since the British-bred Graham Motion trainee made her American racing debut going 1 mile against Keeneland allowance company. Her running style is to take back and make one sustained stretch run, so she’ll benefit from any sort of pace duel that materializes – especially if the morning line favorite gets sucked into a battle.
9. Crystal Ball 6/1 – Her connections chose to scratch her from Wednesday’s Obeah Stakes on dirt at Delaware Park and supplemented her into this field, which she will attempt to tackle in her debut both on turf and for new trainer Rudy Brisset. Her siblings have a 20-4-3-4 surface record and progeny of her late sire Malibu Moon have historically won 10% on the lawn.
10. Sister Hanan 10/1 – She returns to Churchill Downs for the first time since rallying to defeat allowance rivals in May 2020 and returns to a distance over which she’s undefeated in 2 tries, including that aforementioned victory. She has tactical speed to run where the pace dictates: she pressed the early runners in each of her past 2 starts, the The Very One Stakes (G3) and the Orchid Stakes (G3).
11. She’sonthewarpath 8/1 – She stretches back out to routing after finishing fourth in the local 5 1/2-furlong Unbridled Sydney Stakes in late April. Trainer Steve Margolis connects at 29% with runners going sprint to route and she returns to a distance over which half of her 6 career victories have come, including a trio of 2020 turf stakes between Fair Grounds and Indiana Grand.
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