The national stakes calendar will kick back into high gear when the calendar turns to June next week, but a somewhat quieter Saturday is on tap with a pair of graded stakes at Churchill Downs for fillies and mares and one at Santa Anita for the sophomore fillies.
Mint Julep (G3) — Churchill Downs Race 11
Brad Cox has the mares to beat in #1 Juliet Foxtrot and #2 Beau Recall, but Chad Brown’s lightly-raced #6 NAY LADY NAY (4-1) showed a lot of good things last fall in a pair of stakes wins to suggest she has the potential to compile an impressive record this year.
Shuffled back to last when impeded at the start of the Parx Fall Oaks, Nay Lady Nay was nonetheless given a confident ride by Paco Lopez and delivered with a wide rally turning for home and she won in hand late.
A step up in class and a slower pace didn’t bother her in the Mrs. Revere (G2) over the Churchill turf in late November as she was along late to score by a half-length in 1:48 and change, a solid raw time on yielding ground.
An older full sister to current 2000 Guineas (G1) prospect Arizona, Nay Lady Nay will have to improve here but it fully appears within her scope.
Honeymoon (G3) — Santa Anita Race 7
On paper, #8 PARKOUR (7-2) will have to contend with #5 Laura’s Light for early supremacy. On the other hand, if she’s as quick out of the gate as she was last time when coasting in a one-mile allowance, she could find herself with full advantage.
She’ll have more time to establish such a lead in this furlong-longer event and will take some catching for Richard Mandella, who’s been emphasizing stamina with multiple 6- and 7-furlong works as part of this filly’s repertoire the past couple of months. Smith retains the mount.
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