by Jeremy Plonk
June 15, 2020
Each Monday, I’ll select my Most Valuable Pony from the previous week’s racing action around the country. Who won the week? It could be a breakout performer, a known stakes commodity or the horse lifting the most loot. Chime in on Twitter @Xpressbet with your thoughts on who should be each week’s MVP.
June 8-14, 2020
MVP: She’s a Julie
Owner: Bradley Thoroughbreds, Tim & Anna Cambron, Denali Stud, Rigney Racing, LLC and Madaket Stables LLC
Trainer: Steve Asmussen
Jockey: Ricardo Santana Jr.
Performance: For the second straight week, the national nod goes to trainer Steve Asmussen’s Hall of Fame shedrow. Volatile sprinted his way to MVP 2 weeks ago, and last week it was the Distaff division player She’s a Julie. The 5-year-old mare won the week’s only Grade 1 or Grade 2 race, the $300,000 Ogden Phipps at Belmont Park. It was a bounce-back effort for last year’s Grade 1 La Troienne winner, who had lost 5 straight before the Phipps. Under Ricardo Santana Jr., She’s a Julie finished strongly between runners to edge favorites Point of Honor (nose) and Ollie’s Candy (head) by another neck in a 3-way thriller.
On Tap: The road to Keeneland’s Breeders’ Cup Distaff in November likely would include 1 or 2 more starts in 2020. The Fall Meet at Keeneland includes the local Grade 1 Spinster as a logical final destination before the main season goal, a race She’s a Julie competed in a year ago. Her success at Belmont and Churchill make those venues potential fall landing spots, though Saratoga’s to-be-released stakes schedule likely includes an obvious return to the Grade 1 Personal Ensign.
Honorable Mentions: Golden Gate Fields’ main event hero Neptune’s Storm just missed our top billing in a sharp showing in the Grade 3 $250,000 San Francisco Mile on closing day June 14. Weekday player Moretti impressed in the June 11 Flat Out over 1-3/8 miles, easily dispatching last year’s Belmont Stakes winner Sir Winston. Dogtag wrapped a big turf stakes weekend for Richard Mandella when winning the June 14 Possibly Perfect at Santa Anita, and she seems to be arcing back up toward major graded stakes. And finally, the Wesley Ward-trained Owlette caught the eye north of the border at Woodbine in a fleet 6 furlongs to capture the Star Shoot Stakes in a faster time than the boys went in the same-day Woodstock.