Birthday Girl

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Evelyn Benoit made a deal with Jose Camejo a couple years back.

The owner of Brittlyn Stables – that of Star Guitar fame and those catchy TV commercials advertising Louisiana’s all-time leading earner – agreed to give the jockey-turned-trainer a few horses to see how he’d fare with the possibility of more in the future.

“He’s married to a relative, my husband’s niece,” Benoit said Wednesday at Saratoga Race Course. “He broke his neck riding and retired. He was a nice guy and all and asked me to give him a shot. I said, ‘ok, I’ll give you one or two and see how you do.’ That’s how it started, with just a couple.”

A couple turned into a dozen. A dozen turned into a couple dozen and eventually almost 50 with another 25 2-year-olds on the way.

“She decided to give me some horses and it worked out good,” said Camejo, who won 130 races in his abbreviated riding career. “She’s given me almost everything I have now. I have more than 100 horses now. Not just her, have other owners, too. Almost all of them are by Star Guitar. They’re runners.”

Minit To Stardom falls into that category, a daughter of Star Guitar who orchestrated an upset of Wednesday’s Grade 2 Honorable Miss Handicap. Disregarded by bettors at 20-1 and left alone on the lead early, Minit To Stardom and Mid-Atlantic-based jockey Alex Cintron won by 1 1/2 lengths over Chalon with 6-5 favorite Mia Mischief fourth of six.

Minit To Stardom improved to 3-for-3 since Benoit sent her to Camejo and became the first graded stakes winner for Star Guitar.

“Forty-five years I’ve waited for this moment,” Benoit said, standing in her high heels on the track waiting to meet Minit To Stardom and Cintron outside the winner’s circle.

To read the rest of the Honorable Miss recap, download Thursday’s digital edition of The Saratoga Special presented by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners.