LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Griffon Farms and Michelle Lovell’s 5-year-old homebred gelding Just Might led every step of the way in Saturday night’s inaugural $275,000 Louisville Thoroughbred Society at Churchill Downs to collect his fourth straight stakes win with a three-quarter-length triumph over Endorsed. Even-money favorite Bango was another 1 ¼ lengths back in third.
Just Might, trained by Lovell and ridden by Rafael Bejarano, ran six furlongs in 1:08.71 after dictating the pace in the field of six 3-year-olds and up through fractions of :21.81, :44.75 and :56.53.
“He got into stride quickly and was on the early pace,” Bejarano said. “He traveled well and even though we were going fast he was doing it comfortably. In deep stretch there were other horses coming to us, but he was very game. He’s been in great form this year.”
Just Might won for the eighth time in 29 starts and the $168,105 payday jumped the Kentucky-bred’s career earnings to $688,414.
Just Might, a son of Justin Phillip, spent the summer at Colonial Downs in Virginia where he was victorious in the $100,000 Da Hoss Stakes on turf and $100,000 Chesapeake Stakes on dirt. His stakes-win streak began at Churchill Downs came in June when he defeated six rivals in the $110,000 Mighty Beau at 5 ½ furlongs on turf.
“He’s in unbelievable form this year,” Lovell said. “Turf or dirt, it doesn’t really matter what the surface is. He runs so hard every time. It was great being able to celebrate tonight with ‘Pappy’ (Griffon). That made this win much more special. Pappy is such a lovely human. He’s been like family to me and has been with me for most of my career. This horse is very special to us.”
Said Griffon: “He’s by far the best horse I’ve ever owned and bred. I was hoping he would run in 1:09 tonight to try and back up the (1:07.93) last out. He went in 1:08 and change (1:08.71). He’s run well on every surface, but I think he loves the dirt.”
Just Might paid $8, $4.40 and $2.60 as the 3-1 second betting choice. Endorsed, ridden by Julien Leparoux at odds of 8-1, returned $7.80 and $3.60. Bango, with Tyler Gaffalione in the saddle, paid $2.40 to show.
It was another six lengths back to Mighty Mischief in fourth, who was followed by Dennis’ Moment and Derby Date.
Louisville Thoroughbred Society Replay, Race 7 starts at 10:05 on video.
The race is named for the Louisville Thoroughbred Society, which opened for regular hours of operation in March 2021. The Louisville Thoroughbred Society is Louisville’s only on-site wagering by Churchill Downs in the heart of Louisville’s metropolitan scene. The premier club for Thoroughbred enthusiasts is open for private membership applications, and reservations for special events are being accepted. For more information, visit www.thelouisvillethoroughbredsociety.com.
Lovell celebrates Just Might’s Louisville Thoroughbred Society win wth 86-year-old co-owner, breeder Griffon
It was an emotional winner’s circle celebration Saturday night as trainer Michelle Lovell was able to celebrate with her 86-year-old co-owner and breeder Dr. Robert “Pappy” Griffon and his family for their homebred Just Might’s gritty front-running score in the $275,000 Louisville Thoroughbred Society.
“Pappy is the greatest,” Lovell said. “He’s so kind and generous. He’s like family to me and that’s what makes it so special when you have a horse like this. You get to celebrate with family.”
Just Might, a 5-year-old son of Justin Phillip, is out of Lovell and Griffon’s mare Dynamite Babe. Griffon and Lovell have been partners on several horses since the beginning of Lovell’s training career in the early 2000s.
Griffon, a Friendswood, Texas native, has been able to travel to Churchill Downs in the past but described his latest trip as, “the best one of his life.”
Edited Press Release
Photo: Just Might (Churchill Downs/Coady Photography)