Just when 1-2 favorite Juliet Foxtrot looked on her way to victory in Saturday night’s $150,000 Mint Julep S. (G3) at Churchill Downs, along came the 12.60-1 Mintd to reel her in by a half-length.
Trained by Brendan Walsh and ridden by Ricardo Santana, the Irish import was scoring her first stakes win. But Mintd had shown class from her juvenile days in her homeland. The daughter of Olympic Glory was second to future multiple Group 1 queen Fairyland in a Naas maiden, beat future Group 3 scorer Coral Beach in a romp at Listowel, and finished runner-up to next-out Group 2 winner Land Force in the 2018 Tipperary S. in her finale.
Mintd had to wait a while to prove herself stateside for her new connections – Bradley Thoroughbreds, Madaket Stables, Team Hanley, and Tim and Anna Cambron. After missing all of 2019, the chestnut won her U.S. debut at Tampa Bay Downs in March 2020. She raced only twice more last term, turning in fourths at Churchill and in the Ellis Park Turf S. Mintd was sidelined until April 30, when she resumed with a late-running allowance tally over this course.
As Mintd once again dropped back off the pace, Juliet Foxtrot positioned herself in second tracking longshot Flash n’ Dance through splits of :23.90 and :48.60 on the firm turf. Mintd made good headway riding the hedge on the backstretch, so by the time Juliet Foxtrot accosted the leader at the six-furlong mark in 1:13.41, she was only a couple of lengths behind.
The favorite pounced turning into the stretch and opened up by the eighth-pole, but Mintd was about to kick on. Surging in the final sixteenth, she overhauled Juliet Foxtrot to complete 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.92.
Juliet Foxtrot, who was spotting Mintd five pounds as the 123-pound highweight, was 2 1/2 lengths clear of third-placer She’sonthewarpath. Hendy Woods rounded out the superfecta, followed by Vezpa, Tuned, Lashara, and Flash n’ Dance. Crystal Ball, Dominga, and Sister Hanan were withdrawn.
Mintd paid $27.20 while enhancing her scorecard to 9-4-2-0, $183,450.
“It was a tough field on paper, with a lot of nice fillies and mares entered,” Walsh said. “This horse has been very progressive in her development. She ran a great race on Kentucky Oaks Day and had a beautiful breeze over the turf (at Churchill Downs). I thought we had a good chance against some very nice fillies, and Ricardo gave her a fantastic ride.”
Bred by Joe and Edel Banahan and Micheal Smith in Ireland, Mintd is out of Lisanor, a daughter of Raven’s Pass and 2008 Ribblesdale S. (G2) runner-up Arthur’s Girl.