Damon’s Mound, the latest 2-year-old worth keeping several eyes on, announced his presence at Churchill Downs Saturday with a flourish. A 12 ½-length authoritative flourish in a maiden special weight race on the Stephen Foster undercard.

Damon's Mound-big debut win
Damon’s Mound won his debut race by 12 1/2 lengths Saturday at Churchill Downs, bringing another 2-year-old star to the forefront. (Image: Coady Photography)

Damon’s Mound took apart the six-furlong maiden special weight in 1:09.84. He debuted with a 96 Equibase Speed Figure. By way of comparison, that’s the same Equibase registered by Gulfport in his seven-length debut romp three weeks ago. Gulfport is the 4/5 morning line favorite for Monday’s Listed Bashford Manor Stakes. He is considered the top local juvenile at Churchill Downs during the Spring Meet.

Trainer Michelle Lovell can say she knew this was possible. She told Churchill Downs five weeks ago about this precocious juvenile in her barn.

“Look at this 2-year-old that is in my barn. I’ve never had one that acts this professional or with this much class. He could be special,” she said.

Damon’s Mound was an early show-off

Lovell got an inkling about how special Damon’s Mound could be after his first workout. That was an April 23 three-furlong, 37-second breeze at Churchill Downs that was ninth of 21 at that distance. Two works later, on May 12, Damon’s Mound went four furlongs in 47.80, fourth of 37. His last work June 26 was a four-furlong breeze from the gate in 47.60. That was eighth of 125.

“He’s such an amazing horse and has such a great presence for one at this stage of his career,” Lovell said. “He’s always done things so professionally in the mornings when he trains, and he really showed his potential early on.”

Damon’s Mound is a Florida homebred owned by Cliff and Michele Love. He’s the son of Girvin, who won the 2017 Haskell, Louisiana Derby and Risen Star. He’s out of the Stroll mare San Antonio Stroll.

Paying her dues starting to pay off

That Lovell has a juvenile like Damon’s Mound surprises her. A former jockey, Lovell took up the training mantle in 2003. Slowly building her barn, Lovell finally got rewarded with multiple stakes winners Change of Control and Just Might. A nine-time winner, 6-year-old Change of Control recently finished fourth in the Grade 1 Jaipur Stakes on the Belmont Stakes undercard. She’s won $833,725 in her career, a great career for any horse, let alone a one-time $50,000 claimer.

Just Might, a 6-year-old gelding, banked $958,100 in his 37-race career. He’s won 11 times, including the Mighty Beau Overnight Stakes at Churchill Downs June 11.

As for Damon’s Mound he and the rest of Lovell’s stable will head to Colonial Downs this week for the summer.

“The sky is the limit for this colt,” Lovell said. “I’m so relieved we got yesterday’s win out of the way, but he could be very, very special. It’s also very gratifying to his owners because they have been in the game for such a long time. They deserve a homebred with his type of potential.”

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