James Miller’s multiple graded stakes-winning filly Lovely Bernadette leads a field of 11 fillies and mares that were entered for Saturday’s 42nd running of the $100,000 Old Forester Mint Julep Handicap (Grade III) at Churchill Downs.

The Old Forester Mint Julep Handicap, a 1 1/16-mile test over the Matt Winn Turf Course, has been carded as the finale on Saturday’s 11-race program with a post time of 5:58 p.m. (all times Eastern). Churchill Downs’ traditional early June stakes event serves as a prelude to a simulcast of the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes (GI) from New York’s Belmont Park as Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Justify bids to become horse racing’s 13th Triple Crown winner.

The Belmont Stakes will be shown on Churchill Downs’ massive outdoor “Big Board” and other television monitors throughout the facility after the final race at approximately 6:46 p.m. Post time for the first race at Churchill Downs is 12:45 p.m. and admission gates will open early at 11:15 a.m. for the first of 13 simulcast races from Belmont Park, which starts at 11:35 a.m.

Recently transferred to the care of trainer Bernie Flint from Jimmy DiVito, Lovely Bernadette (16-7-0-3—$509,579) reeled off three consecutive victories to close her 2017 campaign in the Sept. 6 Indiana Grand Stakes, Oct. 20 Valley View (GIII) at Keeneland and Nov. 24 Mrs. Revere (GII) at Churchill Downs. The daughter of Wilburn began her 4-year-old campaign slowly with disappointing efforts in the March 10 Hillsborough (GII) at Tampa Bay Downs and the April 14 Jenny Wiley (GI) at Keeneland but will attempt to give Flint his second victory in the Old Forester Mint Julep Handicap. Flint won the race in 2014 with Honey Hues.

Jockey Corey Lanerie has the call on Lovely Bernadette as the 119-pound starting high weight and will break from post 3.

Among Lovely Bernadette’s rivals is recent 2 ½-length allowance winner Victory to Victory (9-3-1-0—$199,074). The 4-year-old filly by Exchange Rate was supplemented to the Old Forester Mint Julep Handicap field for $2,000. Victory to Victory, a homebred for Live Oak Plantation, won the Natalma (GI) at Woodbine in the third start of her career as a 2-year-old. The Mark Casse-trained filly was freshened for nearly nine months prior to her allowance win three weeks ago at Churchill Downs. Jockey Shaun Bridgmohan has the call and will break from post 11.

The field for the Old Forester Mint Julep Handicap from the rail out (with jockey and assigned weight): Res Ipsa (Declan Cannon, 117 pounds); Red Dane (ITY) (Gabriel Saez, 113); Lovely Bernadette (Lanerie, 119); Celestial Insight (Joe Rocco Jr., 116); Inchargeofme (GB) (Adam Beschizza, 115); Sully’s Dream (Jack Gilligan, 116); Ministry (Edgar Morales, 114); Youngest Daughter (Jon Court, 114); Dubara (GB) (Calvin Borel, 115); Inveniam Viam (James Graham, 115); and Victory to Victory (Bridgmohan, 117).

The Week Ahead at Churchill Downs

The simulcast of Saturday’s Belmont Stakes is the centerpiece of an action-packed, four-day, Thursday-Sunday racing week at Churchill Downs.

Twilight Thursday

The Twilight Thursday abbreviated eight-race program starts at 5 p.m. and is highlighted by $1 beers, live music on the Plaza stage by local folk band Bridge 19, food trucks and lawn games in The Plaza. There also is a massive $408,781 jackpot carryover for the 20-cent minimum Single-6 Jackpot on Races 3-8.

Teacher Appreciation Day & Senior Day

Thursday also doubles as “Teacher Appreciation Day” at Churchill Downs where teachers can enjoy a Chef’s Table Buffet and soft drinks in Millionaires Row for a discounted price. A similar event, “Senior Day” is Friday for guests 60 and up. To purchase tickets, call (502) 636-4450.

Advance Belmont Stakes Wagering

Advance wagering on Saturday’s 150th Belmont Stakes (Grade I) from Belmont Park will be offered all day Friday at Churchill Downs. Admission gates open Friday at 11:30 a.m. and the first of nine races is 12:45 p.m. General admission is $3.

Five stakes races are carded Friday for Belmont’s 11-race program, including the $600,000 New York (GII) for fillies and mares at 1 ¼ miles on the inner turf and $400,000 Belmont Gold Cup Invitational (GII) for 4-year-olds and up at two miles on the Widener Turf Course. The two races go as Races 9 and 10 at 5:14 p.m. and 5:46 p.m., respectively, and will be televised on NBCSN from 5-6 p.m. Similar to Churchill Downs’ popular Oaks/Derby Double, the New York Racing Association (NYRA) will offer a pair of two-day doubles: the New York Stakes/Metropolitan Handicap Double, which has a $100,000 guarantee, and the $300,000 guaranteed Belmont Gold Cup/Belmont Stakes Double. There is also a $500,000 guaranteed Late Pick 4 from Belmont on Races 8-11.

Belmont Stakes Day at Churchill Downs

Fans are invited to root on Justify as the undefeated colt attempts to become the 13th Triple Crown winner in Saturday’s 150th Belmont Stakes (GI). The 13-race program at Belmont is a stakes bonanza with 10 overall, including six Grade I events. The action begins at 11:35 a.m. so Churchill Downs will open its admission gates early at 11:15 a.m. NYRA has three guaranteed wagering pools Saturday: a $500,000 Pick 5 (Races 1-5); $500,000 Pick 6 (Races 6-11 ending with the Belmont Stakes); and $1.5 million Pick 4 (Races 8-11).

The pomp of the Belmont Park action will be featured prominently at Churchill Downs on Saturday with the simulcast of the 1 ½-mile Belmont Stakes scheduled for 6:46 p.m. – which comes after the final live race at 5:58 p.m. Video and audio of a majority of the stakes races from Belmont will be shown between races on the track’s massive Big Board when they don’t conflict with live action.

NBCSN will air action from Belmont Park from 2-4 p.m. Belmont Stakes action shifts to NBC from 4-7 p.m.

Guests at Churchill Downs will have an opportunity to enjoy a New York-themed food and beverage offerings. Levy Restaurants will sell the Belmont Jewel – the official drink of the Belmont Stakes (includes Woodford Reserve, lemonade, pomegranate juice and an orange zest) – complete with a commemorative glass. Also, a New York pastrami sandwich will be sold at BBQ stands.

Last call for drinks on Saturday will be “Call to the Post” for the Belmont Stakes, and all dining rooms will remain open through the big race.

“Inside Churchill Downs” on ESPN 680/105.7

The hosts of “Inside Churchill Downs” – Churchill Downs Racetrack’s John Asher, Darren Rogers and Kevin Kerstein – will preview Saturday’s Churchill Downs and Belmont Park racing action with special guests on their 6-7 p.m. show that airs every Friday on ESPN 680/105.7. Those outside the Louisville area can listen live online at http://www.espnlouisville.com/ or download a podcast of the show after its completion.


General Admission to Churchill Downs on Saturday is $5, reserved seating is $10 and reserved dining packages are $49. General admission for the racing cards on Thursday (5 p.m. first post), Friday (12:45 p.m.) and Sunday (12:45 p.m.) is $3, with reserved seating at $10 and dining at $39. Churchill Downs has a special Stakes & Eggs brunch in the Stakes Room on Sunday for $45. Tickets can be purchased in advance online at ChurchillDowns.com/Tickets.

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