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Minit to Stardom wins Honorable Miss

Minit to Stardom wins Honorable Miss

Gets to the front and never looks back as the longest shot on the toteboard
Minit to Stardom wins Honorable Miss
Owner Evelyn Benoit, who was celebrating her birthday, kisses Minit to Stardom after winning the Honorable Miss.
Photographer: Erica Miller

SARATOGA SPRINGS -- Minit to Stardom needed just over a minute and eight seconds to achieve a measure of that.

Running in only the second graded stakes of her career -- and at odds of 20-1 -- she and jockey Alex Cintron got to the front and never looked back to win the Grade II Honorable Miss at Saratoga Race Course on Wednesday.

In the process, she beat some graded stakes veterans, including 6-5 favorite Mia Mischief, who won the Grade I Humana Distaff on Kentucky Derby Day at Churchill Downs just over two months ago. She also presented owner Evelyn Benoit of Brittlyn Stable about the best birthday gift she could hope for.

"Initially, our plan was to run on the turf in the Caress last Sunday, but she wasn't really ready, so we gave her one last work and she worked good, so we decided to enter the graded stakes," trainer Jose Camejo told the New York Racing Association.

"She went and got the lead so easily," Cintron said. "Today, with the pace like that, it was pretty easy for her."

Minit to Stardom was able to keep her pursuers a length back all the way around the track, and finished a length and a half ahead of Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint runner-up Chalon, as Mia Mischief dropped back to fourth in the six-horse field.

'THUNDER' AT SPA

Godolphin Racing's multiple Group 1 winner Thunder Snow has cleared quarantine after having shipped overseas and was on the Oklahoma Training Track for an easy gallop under regular exercise rider Walter Lynch in preparation for the Aug. 3 Whitney.

Besides Thunder Snow, who has won back-to-back Dubai World Cups, the possible Whitney field includes McKinzie, Mr Buff, Preservationist, Quip, Vino Rosso and Yoshida.

Thunder Snow is coming off a third-place finish behind Mitole and McKinzie in the Met Mile.

"Any Group 1 is going to be a big race with good horses, but a Group 1 at Saratoga is a very tough race to win, but I like my horse," trainer Saeed bin Suroor said to the New York Racing Association by phone from Dubai. "I like how he is doing and liked his last piece of work. I think he will run his race."

Thunder Snow arrived in Saratoga on Monday under the supervision of bin Suroor's traveling assistant Tommy Burns.

"We just intended to stretch his legs this morning to get him acclimated. He looked good and did it well," Burns told NYRA.

CATHOLIC BOY UPDATE

Catholic Boy, the 2018 Travers winner, will breeze at Belmont Park for trainer Jonathan Thomas on Saturday or Sunday as he continues to prepare for what Thomas called "a possible big target for him," the Grade I Woodward at Saratoga on Aug. 31.

"He's in a good routine, and we'll let the next breeze determine what our next move is," Thomas said.

The trainer didn't rule out the possibility that Catholic Boy would race on turf again this year.

He was a Grade I winner on grass and dirt last year, in the Belmont Derby and Travers, and won the Grade II Dixie on the Pimlico turf on Preakness Day to begin his 2019 season. Catholic Boy was back on the dirt in finishing second to Preservationist in the Grade II Suburban on July 6.

"I would imagine at some point this year he'd get back on the grass, for sure," Thomas said. "I don't know that it's tricky so much as, if anything, it opens up a lot of options because all of a sudden you've got almost twice as many races to take a look at.

"Obviously, because he's accumulated a very good resume, some of these bigger races would carry a little more weight. A race like the Woodward or any of the Grade I's on the horizon would be big targets.

Thomas said that, unlike the game plan for many horses of Breeders' Cup caliber, he and owner Robert LaPenta aren't working backwards from the BC to determine how to proceed on the racing calendar, since Catholic Boy has the versatility to take a variety of routes.

"I think it's important, and one of the things we've always done well with this horse is kind of take it race by race and kind of let him dictate what our next step is. Breeders' Cup is clearly important, but there's some really important races before that that would have a lot of merit in the end."

Catholic Boy was bet down to 6-5 in the Suburban and went to the front, but couldn't hold off Preservationist and was second by 4 1/2 lengths.

"After the dust settled, clearly, we were disappointed we didn't win, but we weren't discouraged, and especially after the numbers came back," he said. "He ran the second-fastest race of his life, on paper, and ran into a horse that ran really well on the day and received a good number, and we were giving weight to that horse.

"And the second race of the year off a big layoff, I think we're certainly proud of his effort and wouldn't be discouraged at all with it. I mean, finishing second in a $700,000 Grade II at Belmont, it's hard to get too worried about it."

MORE NOTES

Frammento, 11th to American Pharoah in the 2015 Kentucky Derby, stopped a 13-race losing streak by winning the fifth race on Wednesday's card at odds of 31-1.

Trained by Nick Zito, he hadn't won since February of 2017. Besides the Derby in 2015, Frammento was fifth in the Belmont Stakes, fourth in the Jim Dandy and sixth in the Travers. ...

Bond Racing Stable's Rinaldi won the New York Stallion Series Cab Calloway Division for his second straight stakes win in just three career starts.

"He's just stepping up the ladder slowly," trainer James Bond said. "We were hoping he would handle the distance and course, and he answered that call."

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