Following a close victory in the Gallorette (GIII) at Pimlico on the May 21 Preakness undercard, trainer Bernie Flint is thinking big with homebred Mizz Money. The 4-year-old daughter of Mizzen Mast could possibly step up against Grade I competition in the $700,000 Just a Game on the June 11 Belmont Stakes undercard.
“We’ll either end up going to Belmont or running here (in the Grade III, $100,000 Old Forester Mint Julep on June 11),” Flint said. “I want to try her in the Grade I; I’d like to give that a whirl. I hope everything works out well. My business is to make good horses, that’s what a trainer’s job is. I own half of her and would like to breed her, too, so I’m trying a little bit harder. I want to move her up but I don’t want to do it too quickly. It all depends on how she comes out of her last race. I gave her some time to develop and grow up and she sure did. I’ve always liked her.”
Mizz Money is a third generation filly from a family line bred by Flint, which includes her dam Abbeyville Miss and granddam Skye Castles.
“It makes her that much more special,” Flint said. “The first one we raced (Mizzen Miss), which would be a full sister, we just bred to Verrazano and she bred back to Tonalist so we have a lot of faith in her pedigree. It’s gratifying when you have your own homebreds win and win graded stakes. It’s almost impossible when you’re dealing with two or three mares, and that’s what we’re dealing with. It shows that we have faith in her mother and things such as that.”
Mizz Money was just one of several Churchill-based horses that performed well on Preakness weekend.
“According to everybody at Pimlico, the Kentucky boys got it all,” Flint said. “They all ran well, especially Dale (Romans) he did very good over there, ran one-two in the Black Eyed Susan (Go Maggie Go and Ma Can Do It) and running second in the Preakness (with Cherry Wine). He did exceptionally well.”
AL’S GAL LOOKS TO OUTCLASS SEVEN OTHERS IN SATURDAY’S KEERTANA – Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Al’s Gal looks to be the class of the field assembled for Saturday’s $65,000-added Keertana Overnight Stakes, a 1 ½-mile event for fillies and mares on the Matt Winn Turf Course, where she is the 6-5 favorite on Churchill Downs’ odds maker Mike Battaglia’s morning line against seven others.
The Pennsylvania-bred daughter of English Channel boasts career earnings of $247,395. Her most recent outing was a troubled second in Keeneland’s Bewitch (Grade III) on April 29 – her first time stretching out to the 1 ½-mile distance. Prior to that performance, she was fourth only beaten 1 ¼ lengths in The Very One (GIII). Both races were won by Martin Schwartz’s Olorda. Her lone victory in four career starts this year was against allowance optional claiming company at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 3.
“We’re looking for a repeat of her last race,” trainer Mike Maker said. “It was a really good race that day and the pace was good. She ran a very good race so I don’t think that we need to improve on that effort. Pace is always a concern in races like this, but hopefully the class helps.”
Jockey Florent Geroux has the mount aboard Al’s Gal.
The Keertana field from the rail out (with jockey and odds): Al’s Gal (Florent Geroux, 6-5), Tiz Kismet (Julien Leparoux, 10-1), Salama (Corey Lanerie, 6-1), Sakonnet Point (Jack Gilligan, 50-1), Sequiota (Fernando De La Cruz, 20-1), Street of Gold (Robby Albarado, 7-2), Annulment (Gary Stevens, 5-2) and Weekend Wish (Brian Hernandez Jr., 30-1). All starters will carry 121 pounds.
BOURGEOIS ENJOYING PROSPEROUS SPRING MEET – Trainer Keith Bourgeois has had a successful Spring Meet with his small string of 16 horses stabled on the Churchill Downs backside. Horses trained by the native of Lafayette, La. have finished in the Top 3 positions 10 times from 11 starts with two wins, six seconds and two thirds.
“I like it here, we’ve had a lot of success so far,” Bourgeois, 54, said. “We’ve been in the Louisiana circuit for a while and my son Grant works with me and now that my kids are out of school I told myself, ‘You know what? I’ve always wanted to come here and run,’ so I did. Plus, the competition here is a lot better and a lot of the key to success is getting the right horse in the right race. If you enter them right, and they’re doing well in the morning they normally run well. For example, on Derby Day we ran Teniente Coronel, a horse that we claimed a while back, and I figured we’d put him in the $100,000 claiming race just to see what he could do. I remember looking at the form the day after we entered and I told my son Grant, ‘You know what? I think we got a shot in this race,’ and he just barely got beat and ran second.
Upon moving his stable to Churchill for the summer, Bourgeois anticipates getting some better stock from the claiming box.
“I claim a lot of horses and you kind of claim for where you’re at,” Bourgeois said “But now that I’m here I’ll probably be claiming some better quality since the quality is better. I used to have a lot of quantity. Down there (in Louisiana) they like to run a lot of cheaper horses. I haven’t been up here long enough to tell but back home they have a lot of one- and two-horse trainers that have them in their backyard. I kind of put my horses back home with other trainers and I kind of regret not bringing some of them here because some of the ones I let other people have would’ve worked in the $5,000 to $7,500 claiming races they offer here.”
Bourgeois has downsized his stable in recent years.
"We used to win close to 190 races a year, but I wanted to downsize anyway,” Bourgeois said. “I don’t want that many horses. I don’t need that kind of stress. I’m just enjoying it now. It gives my son Grant a start, too. He gallops for me now and he wants to be a trainer.”
Should his success continue, one can expect to see Bourgeois bring horses to Churchill on a regular basis.\“I like Churchill,” Bourgeois said. “The next meet I plan on getting started right away. This year we didn’t get here late, but we had a lot of horses that needed a little bit of freshening; they ran pretty hard at New Orleans. I’d like to come here every year. I want to get on the Fair Grounds circuit and this circuit; those two seem to work good together. I’d go back home in the winter and spend the summer here. I’d run Ellis and Indiana when Churchill closes. I looked at the condition book for Ellis and it looks alright; it’ll work until Churchill opens back up.”
Bourgeois has one entered on Friday afternoon’s card with Fleet Gold Digger in Race 7.
DOYLE OUT SIX TO EIGHT WEEKS WITH FRACTURED COLLARBONE- Jockey Sophie Doyle is expected to be out six to eight weeks with a fractured right collarbone, according to Doyle’s agent Cory Prewitt. She suffered the injury when her mount, Showered, fell in the stretch of Thursday’s first race.
“Right now, our main focus is to get prepared for the Ellis Park meet,” Prewitt said.
DOWN THE STRETCH – Saturday’s scheduled workers at Churchill Downs include champion Tepin (6 a.m.) and Blue Grass winner Brody’s Cause (8:30 a.m.), who is preparing for a run in the June 11 Belmont Stakes. … The field for the $100,000 Aristides (GIII) on Saturday, June 4 is beginning to take shape. Known probables for the six-furlong event, according to Churchill Downs stakes coordinator Dan Bork, include Dirt Master, Limousine Liberal, Toews On Ice and Union Jackson. … Reminder: Churchill Downs has a special 11-race card on Memorial Day Monday. All active and retired members of the United States armed forces will be admitted free of charge or receive a discounted ticket to dine on Millionaires Row. Also, Churchill Downs’ bugler Steve Buttleman will perform patriotic melodies following the “Call to the Post” for each race. … The “Who’s the Champ? Handicapping Contest” returns Sunday. Interested participants can enter for $35 ($30 for TSC Elite members) for a chance to win the $1,000 cash voucher first prize by placing mythical $2 win and place bets on Races 3-8. Second place receives a $500 voucher and third place is worth a $200 voucher. Registration takes place between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on the Clubhouse second floor at the top of the Gate 17 escalators. … “Inside Churchill Downs,” co-hosted by Churchill Downs Racetrack’s John Asher and Darren Rogers, airs every Saturday from 10-11 a.m. throughout the Spring Meet on ESPN 680/105.7.