Quite a Bride made every pole a winning one while scoring a 2 1/4-length win in course record time in the $164,100 Early Times Mint Julep Handicap (gr. IIIT) (VIDEO) for fillies and mares on the Churchill Downs turf course Saturday.
The 4-year-old Stormy Atlantic filly completed the 1 1/16-mile journey in 1:40.70 on a firm course while recording her sixth win in eight tries at the distance. Bill Mott trains Quite a Bride for owner/breeder Haras Santa Maria de Aras. The previous record of 1:40.82 was established by Ever with You on Nov. 7, 2001.
With Robby Albarado aboard, Quite a Bride jumped to an easy early lead while racing off the rail, setting soft fractions of :24 4/5, :48 2/5 and 1:11 3/5. She moved closer to the rail on the turn for home and galloped home an easy winner after being roused in upper stretch.
“I figured it was just a matter of how slow I could get her going on the front end,” Albarado said. “She did it within herself, and she had her ears up and she felt some pressure from the outside and kind of stretched herself out and finished up well.”
Magnificent Song, ridden by John Velazquez, finished second, 3 1/2 lengths in front of the 4-5 favorite Danzon, who was guided by Garrett Gomez.
“I tried to stay as close to the leader as I could,” said Gomez. “She made a strong move when I asked her around the turn. The winner took off at the head of the lane and was gone. She ran well considering the quick finish.”
Delicate Dynamite, Rich in Spirit, and Aunt Henny rounded out the order of finish.
A grade III winner last summer at Monmouth, Quite a Bride was coming off a nose loss to Take the Ribbon on a yielding Churchill Downs course in the one-mile Distaff Turf Mile (gr. IIIT) May 5. She has not been out of the money in three starts on the Churchill lawn. Overall, she's won seven of 13 starts. Saturday's winning share $100,728 pushed her earnings to $442,754.
Sent off as the second choice, Quite a Bride paid $7.60, $5 and $2.40.
Magnificent Song, a grade I winner last fall, returned $4.80 and $2.20.
Danzon, coming off a third-place finish in the Turf Classic (gr. IT) on a yielding Churchill course May 5, was $2.10 to show.
Rich Fantasy scratched.