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LOUISVILLE, KY – Trainer Brendan Walsh’s Mintd outfinished the heavy 1/2 favorite Juliet Foxtrot in deep stretch to win Saturday’s $150,000 Old Forester Mint Julep Stakes (G3) at Churchill Downs.
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Mintd broke from the rail at 12/1 odds under Ricardo Santana Jr. and settled into a mid-pack position heading into the clubhouse turn while Flash n’ Dance set a lengthy early pace.
Juliet Foxtrot, sitting in second while remaining in the clear down the backstretch, ranged up and took the lead near the 1/4 pole, then straightened for home looking as if she may run away with it.
After advancing in the far turn to be within striking range at the top of the stretch, Mintd tipped out and gradually wore down Juliet Foxtrot in the stretch.
Collaring the bettors’ choice at the 1/16 pole, Mintd inched ahead before crossing a 1/2-length the better of the two, stopping the clock in 1:43.92 for the 1 1/16-mile firm turf route.
“Brendan and his team were very confident in this filly today, which gave me a lot of confidence as well,” said Santana Jr. “I tried to keep her close to the early pace and we had a great trip.”
Juliet Foxtrot, sixth in last year’s race as the 8/5 favorite and fresh off her first career Grade 1 score, was 2 1/2 lengths clear of She’sonthewarpath, who edged Hendy Woods for third by a 1/2-length.
Vezpa, Tuned, Lashara, and an emptied Flash n’ Dance completed the order of finish.
Crystal Ball, Dominga, and Sister Hanan scratched.
Mintd’s win came in her graded stakes debut and improved her overall record to 9-4-2-0 with $183,432 earned. The Irish-bred 5-year-old Olympic Glory mare raced 4 times on her native turf at age 2, then missed all of 2019 before resurfacing in America last year, when she began campaigning for Walsh and new owners Bradley Thoroughbreds, Madaket Stables, Team Hanley, and Tim and Anna Cambron.
“It was a tough field on paper with a lot of nice fillies and mares entered,” Walsh said. “This horse has been very progressive in her development. … I thought we had a good chance against some very nice fillies and Ricardo gave her a fantastic ride.”
Mintd returned $27.20 to win, $7 to place, and $3.80 to show. Juliet Foxtrot brought back $2.80 to place and $2.20 to show. She’sonthewarpath paid $3 to show.
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