Frank Calabrese’s Dreaming of Anna lived up to her 1-2 favoritism by cruising to a front-running 2 ½-length victory over Ballymore Lady in the 32nd running of the Early Times Mint Julep Handicap (Grade III) at Churchill Downs on Saturday afternoon.
In giving jockey Garrett Gomez his third victory in six stakes on the “Stephen Foster Super Saturday” card, Dreaming of Anna covered the mile and a sixteenth on firm turf in 1:42.77 and defeated seven fillies and mares.
Winner of the 2006 Eclipse Award as the nation’s top 2-year-old filly, Dreaming of Anna scored her second victory at Churchill Downs, having taken the 2006 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (GI) to clinch her championship in 2006. The 4-year-old homebred daughter of Rahy improved her record on grass to eight victories and three seconds in 11 starts.
Dreaming of Anna shook off some mild early pressure from Street Sounds and was never threatened in winning for the 10th time in 15 starts overall and increasing her bankroll to $1,908,175.
Dreaming of Anna returned mutuels of $3, $2.20 and $2.10. Sean Mulryan’s Ballymore Lady rallied for second under Julien Leparoux to return $5.20 and $4. Hurstland Farm’s Kiss With a Twist finished another 1 1/2 lengths back in third under Miguel Mena and paid $5.20 to show.
STAKES QUOTES: EARLY TIMES MINT JULEP HANDICAP
GARRETT GOMEZ (jockey, Dreaming of Anna) – “I got a little pressure early on from Robby (Albarado on Street Sounds), but then she settled into a nice rhythm. I was able to give her a little breather at the half-mile pole and then she came home nicely.”
WAYNE CATALANO (trainer, Dreaming of Anna) – “The Beverly D. (on Aug. 9 at Arlington Park) is one of the races we have targeted for her and after today, obviously she is headed in the right direction. She will leave tomorrow to go back to Chicago.”
EDDIE KENNEALLY (trainer, Ballymore Lady) – “She ran big. She’s improving and she likes the turf course here.”
(Q: What’s next for her?)
“We’re going to run her here on closing day in the Locust Grove.”
JULIEN LEPAROUX (jockey, Ballymore Lady) – “She ran really good. We’ve been trying to get her to relax and today she was really relaxed. She proved that when she relaxes, she can finish good.”
(Q: It was tough to catch Dreaming of Anna on a day like this...)
“She’s a really good filly. She didn’t go too fast in front and got an easy lead, and it’s tough to come back on one like that. But my filly made up a lot of ground.”
MIGUEL MENA (jockey, Kiss With a Twist) – “She ran hard. She tries all the time. I had a great trip and turning for home I thought I was going to be able to close for the win, but Dreaming of Anna had a lot of horse. My filly tries hard. She works hard and every time she runs she gives you 100 percent.”