On June 5 Godolphin-owned horses starred in stakes, with Essential Quality capturing the Belmont Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets (G1) and two other Godolphin horses scoring grade/group 1 either in America or Britain.
This weekend could be Juddmonte’s turn in the stakes spotlight, though not at the highest stakes level. The global Thoroughbred operation of the late Prince Khalid bin Abdullah, Juddmonte runs grade 1 winner Juliet Foxtrot in the $150,000 Old Forester Mint Julep Stakes (G3T) at Churchill Downs June 12. Then a day later, Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) runner-up Mandaloun races in the $150,000 TVG.com Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth Park.
In both cases, the races are meant to prepare the two heavy favorites for eventually returning to more prestigious races. Mandaloun is prepping for the $1 million TVG.com Haskell Stakes (G1) at Monmouth July 17; Juliet Foxtrot is also working toward a return to grade 1 company, according to Garrett O’Rourke, general manager of Juddmonte USA.
Mandaloun could become the winner of the Derby if Medina Spirit is disqualified for testing positive for betamethasone.
Juliet Foxtrot faces 10 other fillies and mares in the 1 1/16-mile Mint Julep on turf, including Robert and Lawana Low’s four-time stakes heroine She’sonthewarpath and Stonestreet Stables’ $150,000 Indiana Grand Stakes winner Hendy Woods . Stakes-placed runners Tuned , Crystal Ball , and Sister Hanan are other threats.
The Mint Julep is the ninth race with a post time of 10:11 p.m. ET as part of an 11-race nighttime card that begins at 6 p.m.
The Brad Cox-trained Juliet Foxtrot had been scheduled to fly to California to compete in the Gamely Stakes (G1T) at Santa Anita Park May 31, but never traveled after developing a fever leading up to the Gamely, O’Rourke said.
“She didn’t get sick from it, but it was enough to keep us out of that race. This is Plan B, basically,” O’Rourke said. “Luckily, we got the grade 1 under the belt in the (April 10, Coolmore) Jenny Wiley (G1T). So at least that takes the pressure off. It would have been tougher if she hadn’t gotten the grade 1 win, and we were still chasing after that.
“It’s a good race. It’s a race that will hopefully set us up for returning to grade 1 level in the summertime.”
Tyler Gaffalione will be aboard the speedy mare from post 2. A Juddmonte homebred out of the stakes-winning King’s Best mare Kilo Alpha , she has earnings of $701,831, having won or placed in eight stakes races.
She carries high weight of 123 pounds, spotting the opposition three to five pounds apiece.
Before racing June 10 at Churchill Downs, Juddmonte topped the owner standings with five victories during the spring meet.
Churchill Downs, Saturday, June 12, 2021, Race 9
- Grade IIIT
- 1 1/16m
- 4 yo’s & up Fillies and Mares
- 10:11 PM (local)