Coming off a narrow second-place finish behind Take the Ribbon in the May 5 Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (gr. IIIT), graded stakes winner Quite a Bride will look to better that bridesmaid-like performance as she stretches back out to her preferred distance of 1 1/16-miles in Saturday’s renewal of the Early Times Mint Julep Handicap (gr. IIIT) on Churchill Downs’ Stephen Foster Day undercard.
All but one of the 4-year-old filly’s six career wins have come at 1 1/16-miles on the turf for owner Julio Bozano, including a four-race streak of races won at Gulfstream, The Meadowlands, and Monmouth Park last year. Her most recent victory came in the April 7 L and D Farm Turf Distaff Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs.
The daughter of Stormy Atlantic carries the race's high weight of 121 pounds. Trainer Bill Mott gives a leg up to jockey Robby Albarado, who will be aboard for the first time when the filly goes postward with a field of seven that includes grade I winner Magnificent Song and the Royal Academy filly Danzon, a group III winner in France.
Magnificent Song last finished fourth behind Take the Ribbon and Quite a Bride in Churchill Distaff Turf Mile, and has not won a race since last September, when she scored a victory in Belmont’s Garden City Breeders’ Cup Stakes (gr. IT). The daughter of Unbridled’s Song will attempt to add to five career wins from 11 starts for trainer Todd Pletcher and owners L and D Farm and J and B Farm.
Joseph Allen’s Danzon is coming off a game third-place finish against the boys in the May 5 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (gr. IT) at Churchill. Racing five wide and encountering trouble at the sixteenth pole, she was bested only a head by multiple graded stakes winners Sky Conqueror and Brilliant. In 2006, the Patrick Biancone trainee won a group III race in France, one of four career victories from 11 starts, and finished second in a group III race in Germany. The Mint Julep Handicap will be her fourth start in the U.S.
Five-year-old Rich in Spirit, the field’s oldest and wealthiest contender with $568,188 in career earnings, Michael Matz trainee Aunt Henny, stakes winner Rich Fantasy, and the Old Trieste filly Delicate Dynamite round out the field.
Early Times Mint Julep Handicap (gr. IIIT, race 8, approximate post 4:49 p.m.), $150,000 for fillies and mares 3-years-old and upward at 1 1/16 miles on the turf
1. Magnificent Song (John Velazquez, 120)
2. Rich in Spirit (Jamie Theriot, 115)
3. Rich Fantasy (Mark Guidry, 115)
4. Quite a Bride (Robby Albarado, 121)
5. Aunt Henny (Ramon Dominguez, 115)
6. Danzon (Garrett Gomez, 117)
7. Delicate Dynamite (Calvin Borel, 114)