May 29, 2023

Juliet Foxtrot owns class, form edge in Mint Julep

Juliet Foxtrot
Juliet Foxtrot wins the Jenny Wiley Stakes (Photo by Coady Photography)

Mint Julep S. (G3) — Churchill Downs Race 9 (10:11 p.m. ET)

Juliet Foxtrot looks favorably positioned to win on or near the front end again in Saturday’s $150,000 Mint Julep S. (G3) at Churchill Downs, a 1 1/16-mile grass test for fillies and mares.

Although sixth in last year’s Mint Julep when returning from an extended break, caused in part by the by the widespread shutdown in racing due to the pandemic, Juliet Foxtrot enters this renewal with the wind at her back following a wire-to-wire score in the Jenny Wiley (G1) at Keeneland in her season debut two months ago.

Favored in that paceless race, Juliet Foxtrot prevailed as the favorite, thus building on the improved form she displayed last fall winning the Gallorette (G3) at Pimlico and finishing a close third in the Matriarch (G1) at Del Mar. Juliet Foxtrot drew post 2 for the Mint Julep, with Tyler Gaffalione retaining the mount for Juddmonte Farms and trainer Brad Cox.

The most serious threat to the favorite from a pace perspective might be Crystal Ball, who was scratched from Wednesday’s Obeah S. on dirt at Delaware Park. Second by a head in the Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) last summer, the Malibu Moon filly has won two allowances this term and was recently transferred by WinStar from embattled trainer Bob Baffert to Rodolphe Brisset. However, Crystal Ball has no prior turf form to speak of.

She’sonthewarpath, a multiple stakes winner last season who missed in the Mint Julep by only a half-length, has a right to move forward in her second start off the bench following a fourth-place effort in the 5 1/2-furlong Unbridled Sidney S. Hendy Woods also has a touch of back class and enters off a season-opening allowance win at Churchill on May 14.

Brad Cox will also be represented by the stakes-winning Dominga, who reverts to a more favorable distance after failing to stay 1 1/2 miles in the Bewitch (G3) at Keeneland. Mintd steps up in class following an impressive rally against allowance foes on the Kentucky Oaks card, while the multiple Grade 3-placed Sister Hanan has run a couple of her best races over the Churchill turf in past seasons.