Dona Bruja comes on late to take the Mint Julep

Dona Bruja comes on late to take the Mint Julep

Coady Photography

Dona Bruja Runs Down Believe in Bertie in Mint Julep

Argentinian champion scored first U.S. win June 10.

Odds-on favorite Believe in Bertie did all of the work in the $100,000 Old Forester Mint Julep Handicap (G3), but was unable to hold off a late surge from Dona Bruja in the final strides. 

Video: Old Forester Mint Julep H. (G3T)

Dom Felipe LLC's Argentinian-bred and jockey Declan Cannon stalked the pace from fourth before making a move in the stretch of the 1 1/16-mile turf test for fillies and mares at Churchill Downs June 10. 

"Ever since I watched her races I was so excited to bring her to America," trainer Ignacio Correas IV said of the runner who was named champion older female in Argentina. "The turf courses are different here than in Argentina but she handled everything great. Declan rode her very well. He was very patient and rode exactly to instruction."

Correas said that he would like to run the daughter of Storm Embrujado in the Beverly D. Stakes (G1T) at Arlington International Race Course Aug. 12.

Believe in Bertie, who was denied a graded stakes win by a head in the May 6 Churchill Downs Turf Mile Stakes Presented by Longines (G2T), broke sharp and secured the lead around the first turn. The leader set fractions of :23.58, :46.65, and 1:10.26 through six furlongs, with slight pressure from Sky My Sky 1 1/2 lengths back in second, while Dona Bruja remained near the rail. 

Into the stretch, Believe in Bertie and jockey Shaun Bridgmohan still maintained a slight advantage, but Dona Bruja moved into the three path and was able to kick away to clear the field by 1 1/2 lengths at the wire. Believe in Bertie was 5 1/4 lengths ahead of Sky My Sky, who held for third. The final time was 1:41.46 on the firm turf. 

Linda, Lots o' Lex, and Dynazar completed the order of finish.

Off at 5-1, Dona Bruja returned $13.40, $4.20, and $3.40 across the board. 

Saturday's race was the first in the U.S. for Dona Bruja, who was bred in Argentina by Ivan Roberto Gasparotto, who races under the Dom Felipe banner, out of the Nureyev mare This is Crazy

In her 10 starts in her home country, the mare, who was foaled in September 2012 on Southern Hemisphere time, won four group stakes including the group 1 Copa de Plata-Roberto Vasquez Mansilla-Internacional. She now has nine wins and two seconds from 11 total starts, with earnings of $280,768.