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Bizzy Caroline triumphs in G3 Early Times Mint Julep H.

Saturday, June 02, 2012 | Afleet Alex
Bizzy Caroline got back to her winning ways when the daughter of Afleet Alex got up in the final jump to take the $111,000 Early Times Mint Julep H. (Grade 3) over the Churchill Downs turf course on June 2. The 4-year-old filly, who is one of seven stakes horses in 2012 for her sire, won last year's Grade 3 Regret S. over the same track.

Bizzy Caroline broke well as the 9-5 favorite and rated in mid-pick through fractions of :24.32, :48.95 and 1:13.24 set by Heavenly Landing, who opened up a three-length advantage in the stretch. Bizzy Caroline angled out in mid-stretch and was set down for the drive by her rider Manny Cruz. She responded with a strong rally and got up just in time to win by an neck and get the 1 1/16-miles in 1:43.26.

“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.

“I’m very proud of this,” said trainer Ken McPeek in reference to his 300th career training win at Churchill. “It’s awesome. A lot of people helped me get here: the horses, owners and my great staff.

“It was nip and tuck and I thought Manny rode a great race. She’s pretty special. I’m really happy for the Clay family.”

The winner is a dark bay or brown daughter of the Saint Ballado mare Sacre Coeur. Bred in Kentucky by her owner Catesby Clay, in partnership with Runnymede Farm Inc., Bizzy Caroline’s bankroll improved to $294,844 with a record of 4-2-2 from 12 career starts.