Race 9 at Churchill Downs | Saturday June 12 | Post Time 10:11 PM Eastern
Old Forester Mint Julep Stakes – Grade 3 | Purse $150,000 | One Mile and One-Sixteenth on Turf | Fillies and Mares, Four Years Olds and Upward
She’sonthewarpath (11) isn’t disadvantaged by her outside post in this two-turn turf race as evidenced by the fact she earned her second career win at a mile on turf here at Churchill Downs from the eight post in a field of 10. She also won from the eight post last March, in a $100K stakes like this one, and from the outside in a field of seven last July in a stakes on the grass. In the 2020 Mint Julep, She’sonthewarpath was beaten two heads and a neck on the wire in a big effort, finishing a length in front of today’s favorite Juliet Foxtrot (2), who went on to win the Grade 3 Gallorette in October and then more recently the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley in April. Jockey Beschizza got to know the mare when riding her in a prep at the end of April, a stakes on the Churchill Downs turf in which she rallied from eighth to fourth. That race has turned out to be a KEY RACE from which the runner-up (Change of Control) came back from to win the Intercontinental Stakes last week at Belmont and from which another horse came back from to win. As such, all signs point to She’sonthewarpath improving markedly second off the layoff and posting the upset here opening at 8 to 1 odds.
Dominga (6) comes from the red hot barn of Brad Cox the same as Juliet Foxtrot but like She’sonthewarpath opens at 8 to 1 and offers us a lot of value for win bets. Dominga has finished first or second in five of 10 career starts, all on grass, including a stakes win last March and a huge effort when battling head-and-head the length of the stretch only to come up a neck short in March of this year in the Tom Benson Memorial Stakes at Fair Grounds. That effort came after seven months off and she would likely have improved to win her next start EXCEPT her connections put her in the mile and one-half Bewitch Stakes, which proved to be too far. In the Bewitch, Dominga was second and only a half-length from the lead after a mile and one-eighth but faded to sixth. Cutting back to the distance of the Benson, and having won on the Churchill turf when breaking her maiden in her career debut in the summer of 2019, Dominga just needs to rebound to the form shown one race before last to run well enough to win.
Juliet Foxtrot (2) opens at 6 to 5 and that makes her impossible to bet to win, but she can win although she’s no standout as those odds suggest. Before winning the Jenny Wiley in April, the filly had won five of 17 on turf including a pair of grade 3 stakes like this one so she’s no slouch but then again she did fade to sixth in last year’s Mint Julep as the 8 to 5 favorite after pressing an easy pace. She’s also lost ground in the last eighth of a mile in six of her last nine races. She can run on the lead or from just off the pace but it’s likely she’ll go for the front from her inside post and only Crystal Ball (9) may have any interest in running in the front early but will have a difficult time of getting in front of Juliet Foxtrot because of the outside draw. As such, Juliet Foxtrot may repeat her Jenny Wiley win, which earned a 111 Equibase figure. On the other hand, Dominga earned a 111 figure in the Benson and She’sonthewarpath earned a 109 figure in her win last August so they are all evenly matched if they run their best races.
Vezpa (4) is the kind of horse which can make us a big score if she hits the board, and opening at 30/1 it would be impossible to leave her off as a contender given the amount of kicking ourselves after the race if we did. She ran two times in Uruguay, winning once and missing by a half-length in a 14 horse field in the other race. Then, following 11 months off she made her U.S. debut at Churchill, at a mile on turf, on April 27 and it was a big effort as she rallied from eighth of 10 to win by a nose at 32 to 1. Joe Talamo rode then as now and it’s a big jump from first level allowance to grade 3 stakes BUT we must note the trainer is Paulo Lobo, who posted the upset with Ivar at 14/1 in the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile and who has had longshot success with other South American imports as well, most ridden by Talamo. Considering the fourth, fifth and ninth finishers form that 4/27 race all came back to win, Vezpa has a shot to hit the board at the very least.
She’sonthewarpath (11) and Dominga (6) at odds of 3 to 1 or more.
Vezpa (4) to win for a token amount ($2-$5) at odds of 10 to 1 or more.
When we bet longshots like Vezpa to win it’s a safe play to bet the exacta as a place bet for the minimum $1 as follows: ALL over Vezpa (4).
Then, the main Exacta play is this exacta box: She’sonthewarpath (11), Dominga (6) and Juliet Foxtrot (2).
Optionally: She’sonthewarpath (11), Dominga (6) and Juliet Foxtrot (2) over She’sonthewarpath (11), Dominga (6), Juliet Foxtrot (2), Mintd (1)¸Hendy Woods (3) and Crystal Ball (9).