2 KD The Mint Million (GIII)
$2,000.000 3yo&Up 1m Turf 3yo 119lbs Older 122lbs
It’s time to head to the field… KD and the massive purses associated with the oddly shaped turf course. I love it here, but it is a bit odd… the hilly course with the dog leg turn. But with a $2,000.000 purse for The Mint Million, obviously mint is the word that draws everyone’s attention. Penal Hockey Party is having a heck of a year and just looks like a horse that is ready to take a race just like this one, so he gets the nod from me. The Maxmillion Farm trainee comes into this one with three consecutive graded wins, two of those grade ones, so… yeah. Stating the obvious. Another that has been running huge in graded races is the speedy Jakarta, from the Nakamura Stables. Another with three graded wins, and this one loves the weeds, as well.
You could make a serious case for a few more, and this certainly stacks up to have it all. Let’s get to the rail and get a good spot… this is going to be a fun one.
Here’s The Field –
Never seems to run a bad race but hasn’t won since facing FL bred Alw types at GP back in March. Now, don’t let that be the entire story as this one was third in the Forester (GI) at CD and the Kelso (GIII) at SAR, and throw in the duo of runner-up efforts in the Poker (GIII) and last out in the Fourstardave (GI) on wet sod at SAR. He is due.
I don’t know if there is a grass horse going any better than this one is, right now… three wins in a row, all graded, two runner-up efforts prior to the win streak, all of those also graded affairs… all on the weeds and he’s real hard to look over in any field.
Two wins this season, both stakes, including the BEL Gold Cup (GII) but he will throw a dud… maybe more than “a”. Ninth last out, two sixth prior to that Gold Cup win… so when he’s good, he’s really good, but when he’s bad… you get the idea.
It had been a bit of a struggle for this one but woke up last out beating Cal-bred Alw horses at SA, going today’s distance. Still, he’s got a bunch of conditions yet, and this is a salty group, so he’d best pack his lunch for this one.
He’s proven to be a sharp claim for the big barn, getting haltered for $32.000 back in Jan, and he has two graded stakes wins including the Muniz Mem at FG and last out in the Kelso (GIII) at SAR. I can’t believe they keep letting this one going off at double digit odds… but don’t get me started.
Two seasonal wins, but that was a while back taking Alw races at HOU in Feb and SA in Apr. Since, he was going back and forth between distance races and sprints, dirt to turf and back… and now a trip to the deep end of the pool.
What a season this one is having… three wins and a second from five starts, all graded affairs, all showing a ton of ability with that front running style. Look for him to be showing the way as far as he can go, and that could be all the way to winner’s circle.
Second half from the Max barn and he’s kind of been an all or nothing sort this season. Second in the San Marcos (GIII) and Forester (GI) with a pair of eighth place finishes sandwiched in between but went wire to wire in the Read (GII) at DMR last out, so he could make for a strong one-two punch.
Another that is having a great ’23 season, winning the Elusive Quality and the Dayton (GIII) with a pair of thirds in stakes company, as well. But he’s been more of a sprinter than a miler, so it will be interesting to see how he uses his speed, especially on the undulating course, here in south Ky.
COZMAN 2 / 7 Willie’s Green Card 2 / 3 / 5
Categories: Grade III, STAKES ARTICLES