Megans Bluff was headed in the stretch but regrouped to win Saturday's $112,900 Early Times Mint Julep Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Churchill Downs. The 5-year-old bay daughter of Pine Bluff completed the 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.87 on a good turf course in winning the race for the second straight year.
Cozy Island rallied from fifth to take a head-length lead at the stretch call before Megans Bluff fought back under Craig Perret to win by a neck. Solvig finished third, three lengths behind Cozy Island. Sitka, Quick Tip, Royal Sting, Kiss the Devil, and Dorothy Ann completed the order of finish.
"She's a gutsy mare, she's got a lot of class," said Perret. "They got by her again today, but like I said, when you think you've got her beat, she's still there fighting."
Since winning last year's Mint Julep, Megans Bluff lost six straight races.
"We had some great races where she was second and third, including the Locust Grove, which will be her next race," said winning trainer John Hennig. "But then you look at her form and you say, 'Here I've got the best grass filly on the grounds and I haven't won a race in a year with her.' So you start wondering if you're really all right, but she redeemed herself today and I think we'll have a good summer."
James Routsong's Megans Bluff earned $69,998 for the win, her eighth in 26 career starts. Kevin Pipes bred Megans Bluff in Kentucky from the Cozzene mare Cozzena. Cozzene also sired runner-up Cozy Island.
Megans Bluff returned $9.60, $4.80, and $3.20 and topped a $49.40 exacta. Cozy Island paid $5.40 and $3.40. Favored Solvig was worth $3 to show. (Chart, Equibase