Richard and Bertram Klein’s Miz Ida bids for consecutive victories in the $100,000 Early Times Mint Julep Handicap (gr. IIIT), the featured race of the Belmont Stakes day card June 7 at Churchill Downs.
Trained by Steve Margolis, Miz Ida will face seven opponents in the 1 1/16-mile grass test for fillies and mares. The stakes is the eighth of 10 live races on the Churchill Downs program with a 5:05 EDT scheduled post.
The Early Times Mint Julep will be just the second start of 2014 for Miz Ida, who finished seventh of nine in the Churchill Downs Distaff Turf Mile (gr. IIT) on Kentucky Derby Day. That race was the first for the 5-year-old daughter of Proud Citizen since her runner-up finish to Abaco in November’s Cardinal Handicap (gr. IIIT) on the Churchill Downs grass. She won last year's Mint Julep by 1 1/4 lengths over Daisy Devine.
"It was a tough race off a layoff and she came out of it well. She's had three works since and we had been targeting this race all along," Margolis said.
Miz Ida will break from post 5 under jockey Corey Lanerie, the first jockey other than Shaun Bridgmohan to be aboard the Klein family homebred in more than three years. Lanerie rode Miz Ida for a sixth-place finish over a sloppy track in an off-the-turf Churchill Downs allowance race Nov. 27, 2011. Since then Bridgmohan had ridden Miz Ida for 14 consecutive races, but will miss the Early Times Mint Julep to ride West Point Thoroughbreds’ Commanding Curve in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
Margolis’ mare is the top money earner in the Early Times Mint Julep field with a bankroll of $478,786. She has a record of 7-3-0 in 17 races, with all but her 2011 race under Lanerie on the turf.
Miz Ida will carry 117 pounds in the Early Times Mint Julep. She shares high weight with Hit the Board Stables’ I'm Already Sexy, who finished sixth behind Coffee Clique in the Churchill Downs Distaff Turf Mile. The Wayne Catalano-trained daughter of Ready's Image won the Pucker Up (gr. IIIT) and Hatoof stakes over the Arlington Park turf and has taken five of her 12 career races with earnings of $241,610. Miguel Mena will ride I’m Already Sexy from post 3.
Other fillies and mares of interest in the Early Times Mint Julep include Terri and Bernard Flint and Miles Childers’ Honey Hues, who has won a pair of turf races at Churchill Downs. She finished ninth after setting the pace in the Keertana, an overnight stakes won by Praia May 17. The 5-year-old Henny Hughes mare, trained by Bernard Flint, has won eight of 19 races and will be ridden from the rail by Jesus Castanon.
Hot Tempo makes her Churchill Downs debut off a narrow victory in the Matron Stakes for trainer Frank Leggio at Louisiana’s Evangeline Downs. It was the first stakes triumph for the daughter of Heatseeker who has a career turf record of 5-2-0 in 11 races. Brian Hernandez Jr. will ride the bay filly.
Mort Fink’s homebred Enchanting Lisa, a half sister to two-time Horse of the Year and six-time Eclipse Award winner Wise Dan, is to make her stakes debut. Trained by Charlie LoPresti, the 4-year-old War Chant filly has won only one of her five career races, but has not finished worse than fourth in four attempts on turf. She was beaten ba head by Keertana winner Praia in a one-mile allowance race in October at Keeneland.
$100,000 Early Times Mint Julep Handicap (gr. IIIT, Race 8, 5:05 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 3 & Up, 1 1/16 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Honey Hues (KY), J L Castanon, 114, B S Flint
2. Tapit's World (FL), J Rocco Jr., 112, W B Calhoun
3. I'm Already Sexy (KY), M Mena, 117, W M Catalano
4. Hot Tempo (KY), B J Hernandez Jr., 114, F Leggio
5. Miz Ida (KY), C J Lanerie, 117, S Margolis
6. Embarr (VA), L D Davis, 115, S S Cooney
7. Enchanting Lisa (KY), J R Leparoux, 111, C LoPresti
8. Maid On a Mission (KY), M Pedroza, 114, T R Mills