Kiss Moon wore down favored I’m Already Sexy in the final yards and score a nose victory in the $100,000 Mint Julep H. (G3) Saturday at Churchill Downs, the third career stakes win, and first graded score for the 4-year-old daughter of Malibu Moon.
Maid On a Mission was first to show her hand, but I’m Already Sexy quickly surged to the lead entering the backstretch. I’m Already Sexy carved out a :46.77 second half-mile, while Kiss Moon stalked the leaders in third. Jockey Corie Lanerie called on his mount midway on the turn, and Kiss Moon gradually wore down I’m Already Sexy to get up just before the wire.The winner covered the 1 1/16-mile distance on the firm turf course in 1:40.94.
Kiss Moon is owned by Carl F. Pollard and trained by David Vance, the same owner-trainer team who won the 2003 Mint Julep with Kiss the Devil, the dam of Kiss Moon, who was bred at Pollard’s Hermitage Farm.
Kiss Moon was coming off a poor effort on Kentucky Derby Day in the Churchill Downs Distaff Turf Mile (G2), a race that was her first outing since November.
“We tried to get her ready for Derby Day – that was our plan, but the Oaklawn weather just put us way back,” Vance said. “We decided to go ahead and run her in the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile because there was no place else to run her. We either had to run her or train her another five to six weeks. When Lanerie asked her today, she was there for him.”
Saturday’s triumph lifted Kiss Moon’s career record to 5-1-3 in 14 races and the winner’s prize of $58,280 increased her lifetime earnings to $349,596.
Perennial leading sire Malibu Moon is the sire of five stakes winners this year. Among his ten stakes horses are Grade 1-place 3-year-old colt Danzig Moon and Grade 2 winner Portal del Alto.