Malibu Mint, winner of four stakes last year and $666,939, begins her 5-year-old campaign as the 120-pound high weight in Saturday’s $100,000 First Lady Handicap (gr. III) for fillies and mares at Gulfstream Park.
Jockey Kristi Chapman rides the chestnut daughter of Malibu Moon for her father, trainer James R. Chapman, in the six-furlong dash that attracted a field of eight fillies and mares. Martha Jane and John Mulholland’s Malibu Mint scored the biggest victory of her career winning the Princess Rooney Handicap (gr. I) at Calder in mid-July at odds of 23-1 when division leader Dubai Escapade was unplaced.
Malibu Mint posted three more stakes victories after that, including the Thoroughbred Club America (gr. III) at Keeneland in October and the Top Flight Handicap (gr. II) at Aqueduct last out on Nov. 24, although the latter on a disqualification. Between those two races, the Kentucky-bred finished 12th of 14 in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (gr. I) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 4.
An intriguing but lightly raced contender in the First Lady is Jayeff B Stable’s homebred 5-year-old mare Contrast with jockey Eddie Castro in the saddle. The daughter of Unbridled is out of 1990 Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Safely Kept and has won four of five career starts for trainer Alan Goldberg, who guided Safely Kept’s Eclipse championship career for Jayeff B owner Richard Santulli.
Contrast didn’t make her career debut until May of 2005, winning her first two starts at Delaware Park and Belmont Park before finishing third in a small stakes at Delaware in her third outing. She didn’t return until May last year, capturing the Red Cross Stakes at Monmouth Park and the Candy Éclair Stakes at Delaware Park on June 20 in her last appearance.
Another solid contender in the First Lady in good recent form is NTS Stable’s 4-year-old filly Annabill with Hall of Fame jockey Earlie Fires in the saddle for veteran horseman Milt Wolfson. The daughter of Outflankerhas won her last three starts, including the Chaposa Springs Handicap at Calder on Dec. 30, after being claimed for $25,000 there in August.
$100,000 First Lady Handicap (gr. III, Race 9, 5:13 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 4 & Up, 6 Furlongs
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Annabill (FL), 114, Earlie Fires
2. Actslikealady (KY), 113, John R. Velazquez
3. Malibu Mint (KY), 120, Kristi L. Chapman
4. Leona's Knight (FL), 114, Jeffrey Sanchez
5. Contrast (KY), 116, Eddie Castro
6. Any Limit (KY), 114, Rafael Bejarano
7. No Hear Say (FL), 112, Rajiv Maragh
8. Flying Circle (KY), 114, Javier Castellano