January 24, 2022

Mitole annexes Churchill Downs Stakes

Mitole and jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. triumph under the Twin Spires at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby Saturday in the Churchill Downs Stakes (G1) on May 4, 2019 (c) Horsephotos.com/Cecilia Gustavsson

by Tommy Raymond

William and Corinne Heiligbrodt’s Mitole showed that he’ll be a force to be reckoned with in the coming months by proving best against a quality field in Saturday’s $500,000 Churchill Downs Stakes (G1). The Steven Asmussen trainee, under jockey Ricardo Santana Jr., was 3 1/2 lengths in the clear at the end and completed the seven-furlong fast-track affair in 1:21.21 at Churchill Downs.

As the slight 2-1 favorite, Mitole, Bobby’s Wicked One and Promises Fulfilled exchanged leads through hot fractions of :22.38, :44.71 and 1:08.69. Just as they passed by the eighth pole, however, Mitole had permanently taken control and was pulling away at the end.

“He’s for real,” Asmussen said of the four-year-old son of Eskendereya. “Everyone has always been beaming about his potential and he met his potential today and is now a Grade 1 winner.”

Bobby’s Wicked One held sway by a half-length over Promises Fulfilled, and following these three past the line were Do Share, second choice Whitmore, Warrior’s Club, Majestic Dunhill, Still Having Fun, Uncontested, Uno Mas Modelo and Wild Shot.

Limousine Liberal, the two-time defending champion, was scratched.

Mitole was bred in the Bluegrass State by Edward A. Cox Jr. and was sold for $140,000 as an OBS April two-year-old. He is the second foal out of the Indian Charlie mare Indian Miss, who also has a yearling colt by Oxbow.

Mitole came into this race off a score in the Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) at Oaklawn. He’s now won six straight contests and seven of his last eight, but Saturday’s race was his first venture beyond six furlongs. With this triumph, Mitole now possesses a record of 10-7-2-1 and a bankroll of $992,910.