Henrietta Topham prevails in the Old Forester Mint Julep under James Graham (Coady Photography)
Churchill Downs Press Release
LOUISVILLE, Ky.— Henrietta Topham, owned and bred by Michael Burns’ Cambus-Kenneth Farm, surged past odds-on 3-5 favorite White Frost inside the final 100 yards to score a half-length victory in Sunday’s 47th running of the $222,000 Old Forester Mint Julep Stakes (Grade III) at Churchill Downs.
Henrietta Topham, trained by Geoff Mulcahy and ridden by James Graham, ran 1 1/16 miles on “firm” turf in 1:42.46.
This was the first graded stakes win for Henrietta Topham, who won the ungraded $99,875 Centennial Distaff Turf Mile at Ellis Park last August.
For Mulcahy, it was his first graded stakes win as a trainer and his first career Churchill Downs victory after going winless in his first 51 tries dating back to the 2002 Spring Meet.
“This horse is so turnkey and easy to train,” Mulcahy said. “She makes my job so easy. I’m thrilled for all the connections and the owner who pays such attention to detail in their horses and breeding. This horse is a third-generation homebred and very special to all of us. It’s a team operation between us. They have a big say of what goes on, too.”
Sweet Dani Girl led the compact field of five fillies and mares throughout the early stages of the races through quarter-mile splits of :24.04, :48.13 and 1:12.20 as White Frost sat just off her right hip and Henrietta Topham relaxed in the clear while tracking from fourth.
Around the final turn, White Frost engaged Sweet Dani Girl and the two raced on even terms down the top of the stretch as Henrietta Topham moved into third. As White Frost put away the early leader, Henrietta Topham found her best stride at the final furlong marker and surged past the duo for the victory.
“They didn’t go to horribly quick upfront so turning for home I knew she would really have to dig in to get past the leaders,” said Graham, who also won the 2010 Mint Julep aboard Hot Cha Cha. “And she really dug in and tried hard to get in front at the wire. Early in the race I just kept her relaxed and out of trouble. She ran a great race and I’m so thrilled for all the connections.”
Henrietta Topham returned $19.24, $5.48 and $2.18. White Frost, under Flavien Prat, paid $2.42 and $2.10. Sweet Dani Girl, with Javier Castellano up, was another 3 ¾ lengths back in third and paid $2.10 to show.
It was another half-length back to Lady Hideaway in fourth, who was followed by Kate’s Kingdom. Gam’s Mission, California Angel and New Year’s Eve were scratched.
The $139,000 first prize jumped Henrietta Topham’s earnings to $453,128 with a record of 5-1-0 in 12 starts.
Henrietta Topham is a 5-year-old daughter of Lemon Drop Kid out of the Cozzene mare Miss Silver Brook and was bred in Kentucky.
Sunday marked the final day of racing at Churchill Downs for the abbreviated Spring Meet. The Kentucky horse racing circuit will shift to Ellis Park on Saturday at 1:50 p.m. ET. Racing at Churchill Downs is scheduled to return Thursday, Sept. 14 for the 14-day September Meet.