Today we head down to Churchill Downs and will look at the 36th running of the Early Times Mint Julep Handicap. It's a Grade 3 race for fillies and mares 3YO on turf going a mile and sixteenth for a purse of $100,000. Their are nine entered and as of this writing no scratches. There is no real front end speed in this bunch of ladies, most are stalkers or closer's, so it makes this race wide open. When all said and done the mare I keep coming back to is ...
#8 Snow Top Mountain ML 4/1
She has shown herself to be a versatile mare, winning where ever she races and distances. I'm going to ignore her last outing at Tampa as one of those days or not liking the course. Two back, she won the Suwanee River (G3) at Gulfstream, beating Hit It Rich. She has won here at CD and at this speed with good Beyer's. Proctor has a 20% win record across the board in these situations, and makes a switch to Shane Sellers today. With the pace so uncertain, this race should set up well for her closing nature.
#1 Bizzy Caroline ML 4/1
This 4YO filly got off to a great 3YO season winning three of her first four outings, including the Regret (G3). She tried two G1 events and was over matched and then showed strong efforts in a G2 and G3 race. She has won two of three over the CD turf course and likes this distance too. What makes her interesting is she has shown she can go forward, and today with no real speed she good kick out on the lead and go wire to wire. McPeek has her working well and her past speed fig's hold well with this group.
#3 Tapitsfly ML 3/1
Every time I ignore her she wins, like the Honey Fox (G2) at Gulfstream last March. The reason I'll lay off her today is that she has not won at CD in four tries, and shows better speed at a mile than this distance. She is off to a good start in her 5YO season, hitting the board in all three races. Romans puts on Lebron today, where they have been hitting at 41% rate. What makes her dangerous is that she can go out to the lead or rate off, I think she'll take off but not sure she can hold off the closer's.
#2 Artemus Kitten ML 5/1
This is more of an angle play than anything. I like Michael Maker in these situations, bringing in a filly who has won at this distance two of three, posted a nice 93 Beyer two back and changes jockeys (Bridgmohan takes over). This filly might be a horse for course at Fair Grounds (two of three), but with two wins out of four tries (toss the last dirt effort) this season, she looks tough today. She will stalk the pace, so pace will dictate her ability to kick at the end.
#9 Warm Hugs ML 12/1
This lightly raced 4YO won her first effort at CD a month ago in an Allowance for non winners of 1 at this distance. She likes this distance, Mott hit's 23% on winners last start, and Nakatani stays on board. Her racing style is to press the pace, which might set up well for her today since her Beyer's are bit light for this group. While not one to get wrapped up in weights, she does get a big weight break to 113. Mott/Nakatani are a crafty pair, if the pace breaks her way, she could sneak through.
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