Bizzy Caroline won the 36th running of the Early Times Mint Julep Handicap (G3) at Churchill Downs on Saturday night, giving trainer Ken McPeek his 300th career win at the Louisville track.
McPeek is just the 13th trainer to reach the 300-win milestone at Churchill Downs. Bizzy Caroline was the second of three winners Saturday night for McPeek and jockey Manny Cruz, who also teamed to win with Colbert in Race 5 and Jazil’s Song in the finale.
“I’m very proud of this,” McPeek said via phone from New York, where he is overseeing the training of Atigun and Unstoppable U for next Saturday’s Belmont Stakes(G1). “It’s awesome. A lot of people helped me get here: the horses, owners and my great staff.”
Bizzy Caroline broke well as the 9-5 favorite and rated in mid-pack early. Bizzy Caroline angled out in midstretch and was set down for the drive by Cruz. She responded with a strong rally and got up just in time.
“When we turned for home and (Heavenly Landing) opened up, I thought, ‘Oh no, it’s too much.’ But she kept gaining and we got there on time,” Cruz said.
A 4-year-old dark bay or brown daughter of Afleet Alex out of the Saint Ballado mare Sacre Coeur, Bizzy Caroline covered the 1 1/16 miles on the firm course in 1:43.29. The victory was worth $67,444 and improved Bizzy Caroline’s bankroll to $294,844 with a record of 4-2-2 from 12 career starts. The other graded stakes win of her career came in last spring’s Regret (G3) at Churchill Downs.
–Churchill Downs Communications contributed to this report.
Bizzy Caroline/Reed Palmer photo