May 22, 2022

She’s a Julie can give Asmussen second Breeders’ Cup Distaff bid in Fleur de Lis

She's a Julie led virtually throughout in Bayakoa (c) Coady Photography/Oaklawn Park

Trainer Steve Asmussen already has one Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) qualifier in Midnight Bisou, who secured a spot in the fall highlight romping in last weekend’s Ogden Phipps (G1). He can get another Saturday if She’s a Julie can out-finish five rivals in the $250,000 Fleur de Lis (G2) at Churchill Downs.

The 1 1/8-mile Fleur de Lis is a Breeders’ Cup Challenge event, with the winner guaranteed a spot in the Distaff over the same distance on November 2.

Like her division-leading stablemate, She’s a Julie has taken her game to a new level this season. Undefeated from two starts on the year, the daughter of Elusive Quality captured the Bayakoa (G3) in February and the May 3 La Troienne (G1) by a half-length in a game performance. Though she has yet to win beyond 1 1/16 miles, her lone attempt was a second-place effort in the 1 1/4-mile Alabama (G1) last summer, in which she edged Midnight Bisou for the place honors.

Multiple Grade 1 winner Elate was one of the best in her division at ages three and four, but dropped two decisions to Midnight Bisou at Oaklawn Park this spring to start her campaign. Second by a length in the Azeri (G2), she wound up third in the Apple Blossom H. (G1) when failing to muster a serious rally. However, she could fare better here having proved more effective at nine furlongs and farther.

Blue Prize figures to be tighter after a season-opening third in the La Troienne. Winner of last season’s Fleur de Lis and Spinster (G1), she was a solid fourth to Monomoy Girl in the Distaff at Churchill last November. Likely Exchange (1978, 1980) is the only two-time winner of the Fleur de Lis, which dates to 1975.

Monmouth Oaks (G3) winner Skeptic, Doubledogdare (G3) runner-up Go Google Yourself, and the allowance-class Auspicious Babe complete the field.

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Mr. Money takes the Pat Day Mile (c) Horsephotos.com/Cecilia Gustavsson

After winning the Pat Day Mile (G3) by more than five lengths on Kentucky Derby Day, Mr. Money will seek his first stakes win around two turns in the $150,000 Matt Winn (G3) over 1 1/16 miles.

Unplaced in three prior stakes tries, Mr. Money rose to the challenge in the Pat Day Mile at odds of 7-1. Left in his immediate wake was Hog Creek Hustle, upset winner of last weekend’s Woody Stephens (G1) in New York.

Among his six rivals are Signalman and Knicks Go, respective winners of the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) and Breeders’ Futurity (G1) last season. Signalman ran third in the Blue Grass (G2) and ninth in the Preakness (G1) in his last two, while Knicks Go has been unplaced four times since running second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1).

Third to Signalman in the Kentucky Jockey Club, Limonite rebounded from two unplaced stakes tries at Fair Grounds over the winter to take a Derby Day allowance by a nose in the slop. Proverb was a weakening third after setting the pace in the $300,000 Oaklawn Invitational last time, while California invader Nolo Contesto was most recently fourth in the Santa Anita Derby (G1).