2021 Mint Julep Cheatsheet
By TwinSpires Editorial Team, Sponsored Content
By James Scully (TwinSpires.com)
1. MINTD (12-1) returned from a 9 1/2-month layoff with a sharp win over conditioned allowance foes on the Kentucky Oaks undercard, rallying powerfully to score going away by a 1 1/2-length margin, and the five-year-old mare brings improving form to her second stakes attempt for Brendan Walsh. Mintd still faces a serious class check, but the late runner remains eligible to make at least a minor impact with a ground-saving trip.
2. JULIET FOXTROT (6-5) will take some beating at short odds for Brad Cox. A three-time graded stakes winner, the six-year-old mare exits a convincing wire-to-wire tally in the April 10 Jenny Wiley (G1) at Keeneland, and she was flattered when runner-up Tamahere came back to finish second in the Just a Game (G1) on the Belmont Stakes undercard. There is some speed to her outside in the starting gate, but Juliet Foxtrot is versatile enough to sit close if necessary.
3. HENDY WOODS (6-1) opened her four-year-old season with a game allowance triumph under the Twin Spires on May 14, and the Mark Casse-trained filly finished second in the Edgewood (G2) over the course last fall. The midpack stalker has won four-of-seven starts, recording her only unplaced efforts at 1 1/8-mile distances, and she should appreciate the 1 1/16-mile trip Saturday. Hendy Woods will look to make an impact turning for home.
4. VEZPA (30-1) jumps to stakes competition following a 32-1 upset over entry-level allowance rivals at Churchill in late April. A maiden winner in Uruguay, the five-year-old mare was making only her third career outing, and first start in 11 months, when surprising by a nose last time, and Vezpa faces an ambitious class jump Saturday for Paulo Lobo.
5. LASHARA (20-1) will need to show more after finishing a non-threatening fourth in the May 15 Powder Break S. at Gulfstream Park. Unplaced in both stakes appearances, the pricey American Pharoah filly has run well at the 1 1/16-mile distance (3-1-2-0), and the four-year-old could have more to offer down the road, but Lashara probably needs an easier spot to be competitive at this stage in her career.
6. DOMINGA (8-1) does her best running from off the pace and didn’t receive the right setup in a paceless Bewitch (G3) last time, weakening to sixth after being too close in the early stages. A neck second in the Tom Benson Memorial S. at Fair Grounds two back, the four-year-old filly hasn’t visited the winner’s circle in 14 months, and it’s difficult to envision her challenging for the win against these rivals, but Dominga still has some appeal for the bottom of the vertical exotics.
7. FLASH N’ DANCE (30-1) has won three straight since switching to turf in her 26th career start, leading wire-to-wire every time, but she’s defeated much easier company. A former $5,000 claimer, the six-year-old mare is eligible to add pace to her first graded stakes attempt, but Flash n’ Dance appears overmatched.
8. TUNED (12-1) exits a runner-up to the promising Pocket Square in a Keeneland allowance, and the Graham Motion-trained mare recorded a pair of fourths in The Very One (G3) and Marshua’s River (G3) at Gulfstream earlier this season. She will need to improve to challenge for the win, but considering the chestnut has never finished out of the money from four starts at the distance (0-2-2), Tuned can’t be dismissed for a minor award.
9. CRYSTAL BALL (6-1) will switch to turf for new trainer Rodolphe Brisset. A head second in last year’s Coaching Club American Oaks (G1), the four-year-old filly has won two straight since returning from a long layoff in April, recording allowance tallies at Santa Anita and Churchill Downs, and the Malibu Moon filly is bred for turf on both sides of her pedigree. The confirmed frontrunner projects to on or very close to the early lead from her outside post position, and if she handles the surface switch, Crystal Ball is a candidate to carry her encouraging form forward in the third start after the layoff.
10. SISTER HANAN (10-1) cuts back in trip after weakening in the latter stages of three consecutive Grade 3 stakes appearances at Gulfstream. The five-year-old mare has had more success at the Mint Julep distance (two-for-two) and over Churchill’s turf course (2-1-1-0), and a change to late-running tactics may benefit her Saturday, but Sister Hanan must prove she’s good enough from a difficult outside post.
11 SHE’SONTHEWARPATH (8-1) stretches back to two turns and makes her second start off the layoff following a rallying fourth in a turf sprint stakes. Beaten only a half-length when fourth in last year’s Mint Julep, the five-year-old mare is a four-time stakes winner for Steve Margolis, and her versatile run style is an asset. The far outside post poses a possible impediment, but She’sonthewarpath still merits consideration for the top three.