Don Alberto Stable's Limari will attempt to land her fifth consecutive victory Saturday when she tests stakes company for the first time in the $125,000 Old Forester Mint Julep (Grade III) for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on Churchill Downs' Matt Winn Turf Course.
Limari, a 4-year-old filly by Medaglia d'Oro, was transferred to trainer Brad Cox's stable last year from previous conditioner JerryHollendorfer. Since arriving in Cox's care, Limari has reeled off four straight victories and a runner-up effort, including a 2 ¾-length score in her last start at Keeneland on April 19. The homebred will once again be united with jockey Florent Geroux and break from post position No. 7 in the field of 10.
Among Limari's chief rivals in the Old Forester Mint Julep is Carl Moore Management and Brad Grady's three-time stakes winner Mom's On Strike (19-6-6-1—$519,375), who returns to the races following a seven-month layoff for trainer Joe Sharp. The daughter of First Dude won the 2018 Marie G. Kranz Memorial Stakes and Albert M. Stall Memorial Stakes at Fair Grounds prior to her score in the Bewitch Stakes (GIII) at Keeneland. Unraced since an eighth-place finish in last November's $2 million Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (GI), Mom's On Strike will again be ridden by Adam Beschizza from post 3.
Also entered in the Old Forester Mint Julep is Robert and Lawana Low's recent four-length allowance winner Smart Emma (17-4-0-2—$185,122). Trained by Danny Peitz, Smart Emma returned to the turf in the aforementioned May 16 allowance race following two unsuccessful efforts over the dirt this winter at Oaklawn. The 6-year-old daughter of Smart Strike will be ridden by Declan Cannon from post 2.
The complete field for the Old Forester Mint Julep from the rail out (with jockey and trainer): Coco Channel (Brian Hernandez Jr., Charlie LoPresti); Smart Emma (Cannon, Peitz); Mom's On Strike (Beschizza, Sharp); She's Pretty Lucky (Miguel Mena, Eddie Kenneally);Vagabond Princess (Chris Landeros, Kelsie Calvo); Smart Shot (Edgar Morales, Rusty Arnold II); Limari (Geroux, Cox); Stave (Chantal Southerland, Larry Jones); Promise of Spring (Gabriel Saez, Steve Margolis); and Phantom Opening (James Graham, Jordan Blair). All horses will carry 120 pounds with the exception of Smart Shot who will tote 122.
The Old Forester Mint Julep has been carded as Race 10 on Saturday's 11-race program with a post time of 5:26 p.m. (all times Eastern). Churchill Downs' traditional early June stakes event serves as a prelude to a simulcast of horse racing's third and final jewel of the Triple Crown, the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes (GI) from New York's Belmont Park, which will be shown on “The Big Board” – Churchill Downs' massive outdoor video screen – and other television monitors throughout the facility after the final race at approximately 6:46 p.m. Post time for Saturday's first race at Churchill Downs is 12:45 p.m. and admission gates will open at 11:15 a.m.
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