Snow Top Mountain Eyes First Stakes Victory
Barbara Hunter’s homebred Snow Top Mountain, first or second in 10 of 12 starts thus far, will seek her first stakes victory in the $100,000 Early Times Mint Julep Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Churchill Downs June 11.
The 4-year-old Kentucky-bred filly by Najran out of the Storm Cat mare Motokiks was a fast-closing second behind Check the Label in the Garden City Handicap (gr. IT) last September at Belmont Park, and will face that foe again in the Mint Julep, which will be run at 1 1/16 miles on the grass. In two starts this year Snow Top Mountain impressively won allowance races at Keeneland and Churchill for trainer Tom Proctor.
The May 28 Louisville Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Churchill could be a good omen for Snow Top Mountain, as her half sister Keertana, a 5-year-old by Johar out of Motokiks bred and owned by Hunter and trained by Proctor, defeated males after a stirring three-horse stretch duel. Proctor has said he’s high on Snow Top Mountain, who has banked $270,102 so far.
Lael Stable’s Check the Label, a multiple graded stakes winner on the turf, just missed winning the Doubledogdare Stakes (gr. III) on the Keeneland Polytrack in April in her only start of 2011. The 4-year-old Kentucky-bred filly by Stormin Fever out of the Mazel Trick mare Don’t Trick Her ships to Churchill from the Fair Hill Training Center, where she is based with trainer Graham Motion.
Check the Label, who drew the outside post 11 and will be ridden by Jeremy Rose, could be favored in what appears to be a contentious group of fillies and mares. She was assigned top weight of 122 pounds.
Snow Top Mountain, with Robby Albarado named, drew post 8 and will carry the second-highest weight of 119 pounds.
Frank Jones Jr.’s Kentucky homebred Tapitsfly, winner of the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Santa Anita Park, seeks to get back on track in her fifth start of 2011 after missing all of 2010. The 4-year-old Tapit filly won back-to-back allowance events on the grass at Gulfstream Park this year but then faded to finish seventh in the Distaff Turf Mile (gr. IIT) at Churchill May 7.
Miguel Mena picks up the mount for trainer Dale Romans at 116 pounds from post 7.
The Mint Julep is the 10th race on an 11-race card that begins at 12:45 p.m. EDT.
$100,000 Early Times Mint Julep Handicap (gr. IIIT, Race 10, 5:25 p.m. EDT), F&M 3YO & Up, 1 1/16 miles, (Turf)
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