2022 Mint Million Stakes & More Kentucky Downs Previews

An abundant program occurs at the Kentucky Downs Race Course on Saturday. In this article, we focus on four Graded turf races, including the 2022 Mint Million Stakes that was transferred from the last weekend’s card to this one. Atone seems to be the leading chance here, while among fillies and mares in the G3 Ladies Turf Stakes, Princess Grace faces Dalika again and needs to bring something more to the table to defeat her this time. Fillies and mares also clash in the G3 Ladies Sprint Stakes, where Campanelle headlines the field, upon which Big Invasion attempts to record his first G2 win in the Franklin-Simpson Stakes.

Franklin Simpson

This G2 turf race boasts a purse of $600,000 and welcomes a large field of sixteen three-year-olds. The participants are about to cover the distance of six and a half furlongs, while Big Invasion (8-5) retains the role of a favorite. The Christophe Clement bound bay has seven starts under his belt and only one defeat in his debut. In 2022, he bagged six victories and climbed from a maiden success to the G3 stage, where he triumphed in the Quick Call Stakes in July. Big Invasion spent the race in the midfield, then delivered a great finish, and scored by 2 and ¾ of a length. Subsequently, the son of Declaration of War showed up in a Listed event and easily defeated second Cadamosto (9-2) despite carrying the biggest weight.

It also applies to the Franklin-Simpson Stakes as Cadamosto, fourth in the G1 Commonwealth Cup and trained in Ireland by Joseph O’Brien, looks like a lively chance, but his start isn’t a sure thing. He belongs among the also eligible contestants, so the favorite’s main rival could be Sumter (9-2). The Richard Mandella trained bay recorded two wins in 2022, including a black-type and Listed wins. Last time out, the War Front colt showed up in the G3 La Jolla Handicap, where he paid a cost for carrying the biggest weight as he fought bravely, yet had to settle for third place. 

Run Curtis Run (6-1) is an interesting contender, given he’s set to become a solid G3 performer who has placed twice at the stage, and overall, he’s a consistent colt when not entirely outclassed. In July, he finished second in the Quick Call Stakes behind Big Invasion and could snatch up a good place once again. The last couple to mention is Asymmetric (8-1), an ex-British colt who won the G2 Richmond Stakes in 2021, and Stitched (8-1) thanks to his recent Listed and black-type exploits. He doesn’t look to be in the same league as the favorite but has a solid chance to earn some money.

Franklin Simpson Stakes Betting Pick

Our pick for the Franklin-Simpson Stakes is BIG INVASION, as he’s a progressive sprinter who hasn’t done anything wrong yet. Sumter could be the second best here. 

Call Me MidnightAdam Beschizza+3000
ChanceuxTyler Gaffalione +1500
Tejano TwistFrancisco Arrieta +3000
Heaven Street Vincent Cheminaud+3000
All in SyncBrian Joseph Hernandez, Jr.+1000
Big Invasion Joel Rosario+160
Run Curtis RunRicardo Santana. Jr+600
SumterJohn R. Velazquez+450
StitchedFlorent Geroux+800
Asymmetric (IRE)Irad Ortiz. Jr+800
CoinageJulien R. Leparoux+1500
One TimerE. T. Baird+1500
Eva Sing Jose L. Ortiz+800
Sky and SandJoel Rosario+1200
Cadamosto (IRE)Tyler Gaffalione+450
Hunter JohnReylu Gutierrez+1500

Ladies Turf

Ten three-year-old and older fillies and mares head into this G3 turf race, offering the purse of $750,000. The field will cover the distance of a mile, while Dalika (2-1) looks like the number one here. Although a six-year-old, the Albert Stall jr. bound mare I recorded her first G1 win n August as she prevailed in the Beverly D. Stakes over a mile and a furlong. She’s been very consistent throughout her career, so her last year’s success at the G3 stage seemed like a deserved one. However, Dalika didn’t stop there as she subsequently grabbed two second places, including in the Ladies Turf Stakes, and last time out, she caused an upset at the G1 stage.

Back then, she defeated Princess Grace (3-1) by half a length when carrying the same weight, which also applies to Saturday’s race. The Michael Stidham trained five-year-old mare has five Graded wins under her belt, while she bettered Dalika in the Ladies Turf Stakes 2021, but it’s true that she boasted better form in the past season.

In 2022, Princess Grace has recorded three outings, winning only a G3 in July. She needs to return to her best to better Dalika again or even to defy the third chance of the race – Stolen Holiday (4-1). The Claude McGaughey III bound five-year-old spent most of her career in the Allowance races; however, she quite successfully took on the Listed company and finished second, upon which she scored a G3 race at the second attempt. In June, Stolen Holiday prevailed by a length in the Eatontown Stakes, causing an upset as considered Princess Grace was utterly disappointing back then. 

Lady Speightspeare (8-1) will carry the same weight as the mares above, given she won both the G3 Trillium Stakes and G2 Nassau Stakes in 2022, while five-year-old Hendy Woods (9-2) could use her weight advantage over her rivals. 

Ladies Turf Stakes Betting Pick

Our pick for the Ladies Turf Stakes is PRINCESS GRACE, who deserves another chance to better Dalika.

Dalika (GER)Brian Joseph Hernandez, Jr.+200
Country ChickKevin Gonzalez+3000
Hendy WoodsJulien R. Leparoux+450
Lady SpeightspeareEmma Jayne Wilson+800
FlippantRafael Bejarano +1200
Sunny OneVincent Cheminaud+3000
Market RumorChris Landeros+1500
Princess Grace Florent Geroux+300
Stolen HolidayJose Lezcano+400
Henrietta TophamGage Holmes+2000

Ladies Sprint

A large field of three-year-old and older fillies and mares will line up for this G3 turf race, where the participants are about to cover the distance of six and a half furlongs. The purse of $600,000 lured in especially four-year-old Campanelle (8-5) trained by Wesley Ward.

The Kodiac daughter has been all speed since her two-year-old campaign, during which she won the G2 Queen Mary Stakes at the Royal Ascot and the G1 Prix Morny in France. After finishing fourth in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies’ Turf, she commenced the season of 2021 with a bang in the G1 Commonwealth Cup, again at the Royal Ascot meeting. In 2022, she affirmed to be still a brilliant sprinter by running third in the G1 Platinum Jubilee Stakes, the last race of this year’s Royal Ascot. Without a doubt, Campanelle is the hot favorite here and isn’t expected to be bettered on Saturday.

Four-year-old Jouster (5-1) represents the most serious challenge for Campanelle as she scored a G2 victory in spring 2021. Indeed, she hasn’t gotten any close to being a G1 sprinter like her rival did, but her 2022 results comprise a Listed victory and third place in a G3. Five-year-old In Good Spirits (6-1) bagged the Ladies Sprint Stakes in 2021, recording her very best performance back then. She hasn’t shown anything similar since, though. The last duo to mention is Bay Storm (8-1), a black-type victress, and Brooke Marie (10-1), who caught off guard her rivals in the G2 Monrovia Stakes in April. Besides this effort, she’s more of a black-type runner.

Ladies Sprint Stakes Betting Pick

Our pick for the Ladies Sprint Stakes is CAMPANELLE because none of her opponents has ever even suggested being as classy as she is. She’s a real star of the field.                           

Bay Storm Tyler Gaffalione+800
ViolenzaChris Landeros+3000
JousterJoel Rosario+500
Brooke MarieRafael Bejarano+1000
Creative Credit Thomas L. Pompell+1200
Tobys Heart Adam Beschizza+1500
She Can’t Sing Jareth Loveberry+1500
Candace OJulien R. Leparoux+3000
Star Devine (IRE)Jose L. Ortiz+1000
Campanelle (IRE)Irad Ortiz. Jr+160
In Good SpiritsJohn R. Velazquez+600
Elle ZMitchell Murrill+1200
Ready To Venture (GB)Florent Geroux+1500
Honey PantsTyler Gaffalione+1000
Touch Of ClassJames Graham+1500
Recoded Gerardo Corrales+3000

2022 Mint Million Stakes

As the race was canceled the previous weekend due to weather conditions, it was moved to this Saturday, and the field of this G3 turf event was altered. Ten three-year-old and older horses will face off over the distance of a mile while fighting for the purse of $1,000,000, with Atone (3-1) retaining the role of a slight favorite. We preferred him in the former field, and the five-year-old gelding looks appealing once again as the Michael Maker bound bay has been very consistent throughout the season. After finishing fourth in the G1 Pegasus World Cup Turf, Atone took fourth place in the Maker’s Mark Mile Stakes and placed at the G2 and G3 scenes. Last time out, he grabbed third place in an Allowance race, which wasn’t his best performance in the slightest, but he seems to be good enough to bag his premiere Graded victory here.

Five-year-old Pixelate (5-1) achieved his first Graded win back in 2020, and in 2021, he scored the Mint Million Stakes, recording his second Graded glory. Subsequently, the Michael Stidham bound horse failed to impress at the G1 level but placed in a Listed and black-type. So far, he’s hit the track in 2022 just once when finishing third in a Listed, and he needs to build on that form to challenge Atone properly. 

The mentioned duo has a weight advantage over Mr Dumas (7-2), a six-year-old with lots of experience at the Graded scene, but his only victory on the stage dates back to 2019. Since then, he delivered only in a Listed, which he did also in June. Mr Dumas looks to be in form, and if he handles the weight, he still could be the fiercest rival for Atone. Multiple Graded victor Field Pass (8-1) deserves mention because he’s quite prone to catch his more preferred opponents off guard from time to time, as he did in the G2 Seabiscuit Handicap in 2021. He’s never advised to be ignored. The last to talk about is Somelikeithotbrown (9-2), carrying a smaller weight, who is also a G2 winner, and last time out, the six-year-old won a black-type event, suggesting to be in form.

2022 Mint Million Stakes Betting Pick

Our pick for the Mint Million Stakes is ATONE; however, most of the mentioned horses wouldn’t surprise us by running well in such a competitive field. 

Tut’s RevengeVincent Cheminaud+800
Cavalry ChargeDavid Cohen+600
PixelateFlorent Geroux+250
Gray’s FableMickaelle Michel+800
BetwithbothhandsAdam Beschizza+3000
Mr DumasReylu Gutierrez+500
Kentucky GhostRafael Bejarano+600
InjunctionGerardo Corrales+1000
AtoneTyler Gaffalione+350

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