(Make Mischief winning the Maddie May Stakes at Aqueduct / NYRA Photo)

From the NYRA Media Team:

Following a rail-riding triumph in Saturday’s $100,000 Maddie May against fellow New York-bred fillies, trainer Chris Englehart said Gary Barber’s Make Mischief could return to open company in the $250,000 Busher Invitational on March 6 at Aqueduct Racetrack.

The Busher is a qualifying prep race for the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks on April 30 at Churchill Downs and awards the top-four finishers points on a 50-20-10-5 scale. The most recent winner of the Busher to win the Kentucky Oaks was King of Prussia Stable’s Princess of Sylmar in 2013.

Make Mischief, a daughter of Into Mischief, secured an early stalking position behind pacesetter Brattle House, who commanded leisurely fractions. In mid-stretch, jockey Eric Cancel had just enough room to the inside of the frontrunner to take advantage a few strides outside the wire and win by a neck. Make Mischief, who earned a 71 Beyer Speed Figure in victory, has never finished worse than second in six of seven lifetime starts while boasting $207,750 in earnings.

Make Mischief earned graded stakes black type during her juvenile campaign when finishing second in the Grade 3 Schuylerville and Grade 2 Adirondack for Hall of Fame trainer Mark Casse, both at Saratoga Race Course.

Casse sent Make Mischief to Englehart’s care for a winter campaign launched by an allowance victory going seven furlongs on January 31 at the Big A.

“We were pretty confident with her going in,” Englehart said. “We thought she would run well, and she did. It was a little worrisome when [Brattle House] went slow up front, but she came through really well like she was supposed to.”

Englehart said he would monitor the filly’s energy level before making a decision on her next start, but did not rule out the Busher Invitational.

“We’re invited to the Busher,” Englehart said. “We’ll keep our options open with her and see how she trains, but that would be something we’ll consider.”

Bred by Avanti Stable, Make Mischief is out of the Speightstown mare Speightful Lady and was bought by Flamingo Bloodstock for $285,000 from the 2019 Fasig-Tipton New York-bred Yearling Sale, where she was consigned by Paramount Sales.

Englehart also spoke of Tribecca, who finished third in his 2021 debut in the Hollie Hughes on February 15. Owned by Ronald Brown, the New York-bred son of Bustin Stones was a wire-to-wire winner of the Hudson on October 24 at Belmont Park three starts back.

“He ran hard like he always does,” Englehart said. “We aren’t sure where we’re headed next yet.”

G3 Withers-winner Risk Taking on the work tab

Klaravich Stables’ Risk Taking, who earned a career-best 89 Beyer winning the Grade 3, $250,000 Withers last out at Aqueduct Racetrack, had his first breeze back on Sunday morning.

The Medaglia d’Oro bay went a half-mile in 50.06 on the Belmont dirt training track working in company with 4-year-old Mystic Night, a $500,000 Keeneland September Yearling Sale purchase who earned an 80 Beyer in his third-out graduation on January 30 at the Big A.

“Risk Taking had his first work back since his win in the Withers and it went very well,” said Dan Stupp, the New York-based assistant to trainer Chad Brown. “I was pleased with the work. He came out of the race in great shape and his energy and appetite have been good.”

Risk Taking, a $240,000 Keeneland September Yearling Sale purchase, is 2-for-2 traveling nine furlongs at Aqueduct. He graduated on December 13 at the distance ahead of his rallying Withers score which garnered 10 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby.

Following the Withers, Brown said Risk Taking would likely target the Grade 2, $750,000 Wood Memorial presented by Resorts World Casino on April 3 at the Big A. The nine-furlong Wood Memorial is the final local prep for the Grade 1, Kentucky Derby and awards the top-four finishers qualifying points according to a 100-40-20-10 scale.

Louis Lazzinnaro’s The Grass Is Blue, a sophomore daughter of Broken Vow, impressed with a one-length win last out in the nine-furlong Busanda on January 24 at the Big A. The chestnut, who earned a 72 Beyer in victory along with 10 Kentucky Oaks qualifying points, worked a half-mile in 49.21 Sunday.

“The Grass Is Blue worked a solo half and worked very easy,” said Stupp. “It was a very nice maintenance work and I’m happy with her work.

The Grass Is Blue captured an optional-claiming sprint at Keeneland in October sprinting 6 1/2-furlongs ahead of an off-the-board effort in the Songbird in November at the same distance at the Lexington oval. She entered the Busanda from a closing third in the 1 1/16-mile Anne Arundel County in December at Laurel Park.

“She appreciated the stretch out in the Busanda,” said Stupp. “Earlier on, we thought she wanted to go short but watching her races Chad decided to see if she would be better stretching out and she certainly showed that in her last race. She certainly handled the mile and an eighth. She’s trained very well out of that win and seems to have improved a lot for us here over the winter.”

Delacour says ‘New York Stakes Turf Bonus’ enticing for returning Magic Attitude

Trainer Arnaud Delacour said Lael Stables’ Magic Attitude is training towards a seasonal debut on March 6 in the Grade 2 Hillsborough at nine furlongs on the Tampa Bay Downs turf.

“She’s doing well,” said Delacour of the 4-year-old Galileo filly, who worked a half-mile in 50.60 seconds on the Tampa Bay Downs dirt on February 17. “She had a little break and has been breezing well. I’m considering running her in the Hillsborough and then take it from there.”

Magic Attitude made a victorious North American debut in September in the 1 1/4-mile Grade 1 Belmont Oaks Invitational, part of the Turf Triple series implemented by NYRA in 2019 to showcase the best 3-year-old turf runners in the country.

The Belmont Oaks win has Magic Attitude eligible for significant bonus money should she win the Grade 2, $750,000 New York, a 10-furlong turf test for older fillies and mares to be held June 4 at Belmont; or the Grade 1, $600,000 Flower Bowl, an 11-furlong test for fillies and mares 4-years-old and up on September 4 at Saratoga.

“We’ll definitely keep in the back of our mind that the New York could be a very good spot for her with the bonus,” said Delacour. “It’s very appealing because she’s won at the course and going the distance, so that’s definitely something we’re thinking about.”

The “New York Stakes Turf Bonus” will provide $315,000 to the owner and $35,000 to the trainer of any previous winner of the filly Turf Triple Series races – Belmont Oaks, Saratoga Oaks or Jockey Club Oaks – who captures the 2021 edition of the New York.

Delacour and Lael Stables combined to win the 2017 New York with Hawksmoor.

In addition, the “Flower Bowl Bonus” will provide $300,000 to the owner and $30,000 to the trainer of any previous winner of a filly Turf Triple series race who wins the Flower Bowl, a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” event offering a berth in the Grade 1 Filly and Mare Turf in November at Del Mar.

Magic Attitude launched her career in France with conditioner Fabrice Chappet, capturing the Group 3 Prix Vanteaux at Longchamp in May. Following a fifth in the Group 1 Prix de Diane in July at Chantilly, Magic Attitude was sent to Delacour and promptly bested 2020 Saratoga Oaks-winner Antoinette in the Belmont Oaks Invitational.

Magic Attitude completed her sophomore season with a third in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup in October over good turf at Keeneland and Delacour said the talented bay would have benefited from more time between starts.

“It was probably a combination of a few things. She was coming back three weeks after the Belmont Oaks and it would have been nice to give her more time,” said Delacour. “Some horses run well right away and then it takes them awhile to acclimate well. We were at the back of the pack and a stronger pace would have helped her to close, but I think she will probably run better on firmer turf anyway.”

Delacour said Magic Attitude has maintained her good form.

“She’s on the small side but well put together,” said Delacour. “I haven’t seen a tremendous change in her physically. She looks good and carries good weight.”

Bred in Great Britain by Katsumi Yoshida, Magic Attitude is out of the Exceed And Excel mare Margot Did, who captured the 2011 Group 1 Nunthorpe at York.

Following a trio of dirt starts, Delacour said Lael Stables’ homebred Be Sneaky, a 3-year-old daughter of Into Mischief, could consider the Grade 3 Florida Oaks, a 1 1/16-mile turf test on March 6 at Tampa Bay Downs.

A maiden winner at first asking sprinting seven furlongs at Laurel Park in October, Be Sneaky followed with a third in the six-furlong Smart Halo in November at the Maryland oval. She stretched out to one mile and 40 yards in her seasonal debut when second to Curlin’s Catch in the Suncoast on February 6 at Tampa Bay Downs.

Be Sneaky is out of the Big Brown mare Bella Castani, who won the 2013 Tweedside on the Belmont turf.

“The Suncoast was her first time going two turns so it was a bit testing for her, but I think we saw what we wanted to see,” said Delacour. “I had planned to run her on the turf and I couldn’t find a race that I thought was the right fit, so we just took a shot in the Suncoast and she ran very well.

“The dam was a good turf filly,” continued Delacour. “I always had it in the back of my mind to try her on turf at least one time. The Into Mischiefs can run on any surface so I’d like to try her on turf at least once. The Florida Oaks on March 6 would be a good race to try her in.”

Delacour said Lael Stables’ Arrest Me Red, who won the six-furlong Atlantic Beach in November on the Big A turf, is pointing to a return in late spring.

“We gave him a break and then he had a little setback,” said Delacour. “He hurt himself in the paddock. I don’t expect to see him run before the end of the spring, beginning of summer.”

The sophomore son of Pioneerof the Nile finished fifth in the 1 1/16-mile Grade 2 Bourbon at Keeneland in October and was fifth last out on dirt in the Inaugural on December 5 at Tampa Bay Downs.

Delacour said the bay colt will likely target one-turn races on his return.

“I tried to run him at Keeneland going a mile and a sixteenth and that is clearly not his thing,” said Delacour. “He came back and ran very well going six furlongs at Aqueduct, so I think between six furlongs and a mile is what we should consider for him.”

Miss Brazil breezes ahead of expected start in next month’s Busher Invitational

Miss Brazil won her stakes debut last out in the Ruthless on February 8 at Aqueduct and returned to the work tab for the first time since that 6 1/4-length score, breezing four furlongs in 48.89 seconds over the Belmont Park dirt training track on Saturday.

Trainer Tony Dutrow said the sophomore Palace Malice filly came out of that effort in good order and continues to progress heading into her expected start in the $250,000 Busher Invitational on March 6.

Miss Brazil, owned by Team D, capped her juvenile campaign with a maiden-breaking win at second asking on November 29 at the Ozone Park-based track, earning a 93 Beyer. In her 3-year-old debut, she wired a three-horse field in her first start stretching out to seven furlongs.

In the Busher, she will compete at a one-turn mile for the first time and face more challenging competition, as the race is a qualifier for the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks, offering 50-20-10-5 points to the top-four finishers.

“She leads us to believe that seven furlongs to a mile is within her ability, but we’ll find out for sure,” Dutrow said. “She’ll probably meet the best horses she’s ever faced before, and with an added distance, so we know we have to past this test. But I’m happy with how the progression has gone so far.”

Miss Brazil, who ran third in her debut in October over Belmont’s Big Sandy, was bred in Kentucky by Haymarket Farm. Dutrow said he’s been pleased with her improvement, including besting Gulf Coast, who had won a stakes at Gulfstream Park in the Cash Run before competing in the Ruthless.

“I feel good about the way she handled a Gulfstream Park-stakes winner in her last race and I feel good about what she’s accomplished so far,” Dutrow said. “We’re very happy with the way she’s been training on the track at Belmont Park and the way she broke her maiden there; those were the factors in keeping her in New York this winter. She stays very good training there and she has a fondness for the Aqueduct surface. That’s why we went the New York route this winter.”

Besides a good workout, Dutrow’s Saturday included another highlight, with Eloquent Speaker posting a 1 ¾-length win in a six-furlong allowance contest in Race 7. The New York-bred 4-year-old was making her first start for Dutrow after previously being trained by Jeremiah Englehart, and the daughter of Flatter showed the ability to close strong in notching her first win since her maiden-breaking score at second asking in June at Belmont.

Eloquent Speaker, owned by Anthony Mitola White Owl Stable, Jeff Drown and Stephen Mitola, has shown a propensity to finish in the money, improving her career ledger to 2-1-3 in seven starts. She earned a career-best 73 Beyer in Saturday’s score.

“My experience working with her in the mornings is that she has talent, so I was happy to see her show some of that and run by horses and keep going yesterday,” Dutrow said. “That was something she had an issue with in the past. She came out of the race excellent and I do think there’s some more improvement in her future. I hope she has enough class to go along with her talent.”

Impressive maiden winner Mo Desserts is 50-50 for $250K Busher

Trainer Jimmy Jerkens said plans are currently in flux for maiden winners Mo Desserts and Weyburn.

Owned by Late Night Stables, Mo Desserts tasted sweet victory in her second start, where she stretched out to a one-turn mile in style with a pacesetting 15 ½-length romp over a fast main track on February 8 at the Big A, garnering an 81 Beyer.

The chestnut daughter of second-crop sire Nyquist could race back in the $250,000 Busher Invitational, but Jerkens said plans are still up in the air.

“We’re fifty-fifty right now,” Jerkens said. “She ran really well when she broke her maiden, but there was a bit of a rail bias that day, so we took that into consideration. It was still, all in all, what we were hoping for.”

Mo Desserts returned to the work tab on Thursday morning with a three-furlong move in 37.70 seconds over the Belmont Park training track.

“We weren’t looking for much the other day,” Jerkens said. “She’s not the heftiest thing in the world, she’s kind of slight.”

Bred in Kentucky by DJ Stable, Mo Desserts was purchased for $300,000 from the 2019 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Yearling Sale, where she was consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency. She is out of the Dynaformer mare Frozen Treat – a full-sister to dual turf graded stakes winner Masseuse.

Chiefswood Stables’ Ontario-homebred Weyburn has not raced since making his third start a winning one when travelling seven furlongs over a sloppy main track at the Big A. The dark bay son of Pioneerof the Nile is not ruled out of contention for the Grade 3, $300,000 Gotham on March 6, but Jerkens said the colt has been battling a foot issue.

“We nominated to the Gotham, but I’m not sure if we’ll make it in time,” Jerkens said.

Weyburn earned a 69 Beyer in his maiden victory, but recorded a career-best 76 Beyer when finishing second on November 14 over a good main track at Aqueduct.

“I think if anything the sloppy track might have deterred him from running even better, Jerkens said. “He’s got some promise. It’s just a shame he got that foot issue.”

Weyburn is out of the unraced A.P. Indy mare Sunday Affair and is a direct descendant of prolific broodmare Maplejinsky.

Centennial Farms’ multiple graded stakes winner Rocketry is nearing his return to Jerkens’ stable. The durable 7-year-old son of Hard Spun was last seen ending a nine-race slump when coming from ten lengths off the pace to win the 1 5/8-mile Grade 2 Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance on November 6 at Keeneland.

“He’ll come back in the next few weeks,” Jerkens said. “That was a great win that day. We really needed it and when he won it picked us up.”

A winner of distances ranging from 1 1/4-miles to 1 3/4-miles, who has enjoyed success on both dirt and turf, Rocketry is out of the Smart Strike mare Smart Farming. He was bought for $450,000 from the 2015 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, where he was consigned by Hidden Brook.

Drain the Clock, Super Strong work for possible start in G3 Gotham

Trainer Saffie Joseph, Jr. said he is still undecided who he will send to New York from South Florida for the Grade 3, $300,000 Gotham on March 6.

Graded stakes winners Drain the Clock and Super Strong are both possible for the one-turn mile Gotham which offers 50-20-10-5 Kentucky Derby points to the top-four finishers. Both horses recorded five furlong works this weekend.

Sonata Stables’ Super Strong worked on Saturday, completing his move in 1:01.60 at Palm Meadows Training Center. The son of Super Saver won the Group 1 Classico Agustin Mercado Revron at Camarero in Puerto Rico on debut.

On Sunday morning, Grade 3 Swale winner Drain the Clock was clocked in 1:00.52 over a fast main track at Gulfstream Park.

“I thought Drain the Clock worked very well this morning,” Joseph, Jr. said. “I had him going the last quarter in 22.4 seconds. It was a good, strong work and as good as we could have asked for.”

Bred by Nick Casato, who co-owns the son of Maclean’s Music under the Slam Dunk Racing moniker, Drain the Clock has won both his sophomore starts in the Limehouse on January 2 before winning the last-out Swale, both at Gulfstream Park.

New dates for Saratoga’s Grade 1 steeplechase schedule announced

The graded stakes steeplechase docket during the Saratoga Race Course summer meet was altered slightly, as the Grade 1, $150,000 A.P. Smithwick will now be contested on July 22 and the Grade 1, $150,000 New York Turf Writers Cup will be held on August 19. The stakes are the only graded hurdle races during the 40-day meet at the Spa, which runs from July 15 to September 6.

The A.P. Smithwick, a 2 1/16-mile hurdle race for 4-year-olds and up, was originally scheduled for July 29. Moscato won the 2020 edition en route to earning an Eclipse Award as Champion Steeplechaser for trainer Jack Fisher.

The New York Turf Writers Cup, slated originally for August 26, was also moved up a week from the previously released stakes schedule. Last year’s iteration, held at 2 3/8 miles for 4-year-olds and up, saw Rashaan’s impressive winning effort, finishing clear of runner-up Redicean and Moscato, the third-place finisher.

Country Pick 5 pays $1,263; handles $80K

Saturday’s Cross Country Pick 5, encompassing live racing action from Aqueduct Racetrack and Tampa Bay Downs, paid $1,263.50 for selecting all five winners for the 50-cent wager. The sequence’s total pool was $80,134.

Aqueduct started the first of its three total races in the wager when Good Culture registered an upset win in a maiden special weight for 3-year-olds going a one-turn mile in Race 5. Under jockey Manny Franco, Good Culture rallied from seventh at the quarter pole and third in the stretch to post a two-length score, returning $21.60 on a $2 win wager.

Kaleidoscope Kid commenced the sequence’s Tampa Bay leg with a 6 ¼-length score at 6-1 odds in Race 8. Piloted by Antonio Gallardo, Kaleidoscope Kid drew away to capture the one-mile and 40 yard claiming contest for 4-year-olds and up, paying $14.40.

Action alternated back to Aqueduct, as the Eric Cancel-ridden Eloquent Speaker was the first favorite to win in the Cross County Pick 5, besting Wailin Josie by 1 3/4 lengths in a six-furlong allowance race for New York-bred fillies and mares 4-years-old and up in Race 7. Cancel, who won three races total on the day, rewarded Eloquent Speaker’s favoritism, with the Anthony Dutrow trainee paying $3.40.

Another favorite, Himelstein, followed with a victory in Tampa Bay’s Race 9. Under jockey Hector Diaz, Jr., Himelstein returned $5.20 for winning the six-furlong maiden claimer for 4-year-olds and up, registering a half-length win.

Make Mischief capped the Cross Country Pick 5 by winning the sequence’s lone stakes contest, rallying to edge Brattle House by a neck in the $100,000 Maddie May for New York-bred 3-year-old fillies in Race 8. As the 8-5 favorite, Make Mischief was forwardly placed by Cancel before finding a seam along the rail and overtaking Brattle House in the final sixteenth for a thrilling finish in the one-turn mile. Make Mischief ($5.30) won her first career stakes after three runner-up efforts.

The minimum bet for the multi-track, multi-race wager is 50 cents. Wagering on the Cross Country Pick 5 is also available on track, on ADW platforms, and at simulcast facilities across the country. Every week will feature a mandatory payout of the net pool.