Coming off a runner-up finish to Bayou’s Lassie in the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (gr. IIIT) May 3, Frank Calabrese’s Dreaming of Anna heads a field of 11 older fillies and mares in the $150,000 Early Times Mint Julep Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Churchill Downs June 14.
The Mint Julep is run on the Matt Win turf course at a1 1/16 miles and is part of the Louisville racetrack's “Stephen Foster Super Saturday,” highlighted by the appearance of 2007 Horse of the Year Curlin in the $1-million Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I).
Trained by Wayne Catalano, Dreaming of Anna earned her greatest career victory on the Churchill Downs main track in 2006 when she won the Gray Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) en route to an Eclipse Award as champion 2-year-old filly. Since finishing sixth behind eventual champion 3-year-old filly Rags to Riches over a muddy surface in the 2007 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), she has raced exclusively on the grass with seven wins and three second-place efforts from 10 starts.
The 4-year-old daughter of Rahy carries the high weight of 123 under jockey Garrett Gomez, but should find a perfect setup in the Mint Julep because there is not much speed to contest her typical front-running style.
The three who could go to the front early are Peter Bradley III’s Tears I Cry, trained by Cody Autrey; Sean Mulryan’s Ballymore Lady, trained by Eddie Kenneally; and Joseph Allen's Danzon, trained by Todd Pletcher.
Tears I Cry, a 4-year-old Chester House filly who comes off a runner-up finish in the May 26 Ouija Board Distaff Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Lone Star Park after setting the pace and fading to 1 ¾ lengths behind Brownie Points. Winner of the Irving Distaff Stakes at Lone Star April 26, she has gotten her 3-2 record from eight starts running on or near the pace.
Ballymore Lady, a 5-year-old daughter of War Chant, comes off a three-wide closing move in an April 29 allowance at Churchill in which she dove down to the wire after sitting just off the pace.
Looking to rebound from a sixth-place finish in the Distaff Turf Mile is Danzon, winner of the 2007 Kentucky Cup Distaff (gr. IIIT) at Turfway Park with a closing move. The daughter of Royal Academy finished 10th in the Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (gr. IT) at Monmouth Park, and returned from a layoff to run third in a Keeneland allowance event April 13.
Trained by Todd Pletcher, Danzon finished third in the 2007 edition of the Mint Julep. She was a group III stakes winner in France and group III-placed in Germany before she came to the U.S. in 2006.
$150,000-added Early Times Mint Julep Handicap (gr. III, race 11, approximate post 6:21 p.m.), 1 1/16 miles on the turf for older fillies and mares
PP, Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Sprung, 114, Shaun Bridgmohan
2. Mama I'm Home, 115, Brian Joseph Hernandez, Jr.
3. Dreaming of Anna, 123, Garrett Gomez
4. Sousaphone, 112, Jesus Lopez Castanon
5. Rustic Flame, 111, Gavin Faulkner
6. Street Sounds, 115, Robby Albarado
7. Ballymore Lady, 114, Julien Leparoux
8. Kiss With a Twist, 113, Miguel Mena
9. Danzon, 115, Kent Desormeaux
10. Tears I Cry, 114, Jamie Theriot
11. Ciao, 115, Michael Luzzi