Griffon Farms’ and trainer Michelle Lovell’s 5-year-old gelding Just Might led every step of the way and turned back a late rush from Classy John to win Saturday’s fifth running of the $102,950 Mighty Beau Overnight Stakes at Churchill Downs by one length.
Just Might ran five furlongs over firm turf in :56.33 under Colby Hernandez to collect his third stakes win. He also won the 2020 and 2021 renewals of the Colonel Power Stakes at Fair Grounds.
“I wanted to get him a good break and we got away good from the inside and he just took them all the way around there,” Hernandez said.
Sent to post at odds of 4-1, Just Might paid $10, $5.20 and $3.40. Classy John, under Corey Lanerie, returned $4.20 and $3.20. Carotari, the 2-1 favorite, was another length back in third under Julien Leparoux and paid $2.80 to show.
Johnny Unleashed, High Crime, Elusive Mischief and Totally Boss completed the order of finish. Smart Remark, The Connector and Verb were scratched.
Just Might, who went gate to wire from the rail through early fractions of :21.77 and :44.25, earned $66,756 for the win and improved his career record to 26-5-7-6—$400,309.
“We really liked him against this field,” Lovell said. “Being on the rail, we had to go to the lead. Colby did an excellent job getting him away from there and around the turn when he didn’t want to corner as well. He’s a big hearted horse and it’s a very exciting week for our stable.”
Just Might, a son of Justin Phillip out of the Dynameaux mare Dynamite Babe, was bred in Griffon Farms’ Robert Griffon and Lovell.
The Mighty Beau is named in honor of graded stakes winner Mighty Beau, who boasted a record of 75-12-19-10—$646,000 from 2001-08. The Oklahoma-bred gelded son of Rainbow Prospect made a record five starts in the Twin Spires Turf Sprint (then known as the Aegon Turf Sprint) from 2002-06, winning the race in 2005 at age 6 for owners Mike Cloonan and Anthony Carolan, trainer Jeff Mullins and jockey Pat Valenzuela.
Racing at Churchill Downs continues Sunday with a nine-race program that begins at 12:45 p.m. (all times Eastern). There is a $15,297 jackpot carryover in the 20-cent Derby City 6, which covers Races 4-9.
MIGHTY BEAU QUOTES
Colby Hernandez, jockey of JUST MIGHT (winner): “I wanted to get him a good break and we got away good from the inside and he just took them all the way around there. He’s a very speedy horse so that helped breaking from the inside. It’s been a very memorable couple days after winning (the Grade III, $200,000 Intercontinental on Thursday at Belmont Park) and now today. I just want to thank Michelle (Lovell) and her team. This has been great.”
Michelle Lovell, trainer of JUST MIGHT (winner): “We really liked him against this field. Being on the rail, we had to go to the lead. Colby did an excellent job getting him away from there and around the turn when he didn’t want to corner as well. He’s a big hearted horse and it’s a very exciting week for our stable.”