Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner Pretty Mischievous asserted her superiority in the three-year-old filly in Friday’s $500,000 Acorn (G1) at Belmont Park, recording a game head decision. The Godolphin homebred daughter of Into Mischief recorded her fourth stakes win, and Tyler Gaffalione was up for Brendan Walsh.
“I’m just so proud of her,” Gaffalione said. “She’s really developed into an amazing filly. She seems to just be getting bigger and stronger with each race. I can’t wait for the day she finishes out one of her races. She gets to the lead and she kind of waits. She just has so much talent. I don’t think we’ve seen the best of her yet.”
Off as the 1.90-1 second choice, Pretty Mischievous stalked a couple of lengths off the pace before advancing into contention nearing the conclusion of the far turn. She rallied to the lead in midstretch and determinedly held off runner-up Dorth Vader, completing 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.33.
“What’s funny is that in the blink of an eyelid, when Todd’s (Pletcher) filly (Munnys Gold) kind of backed up, she was in front (and) I was worried because she will idle a little bit, like she did in the [Kentucky] Oaks and she did it again today. She’s just a great filly. It’s unbelievable and such an honor to have her for the people we have her (for). I think she’ll get better and better as the year goes on. She’s still got a bit of furnishing to do. We still have a little ways to go.”
The bay filly won her first two starts at Churchill Downs last year before recording a third in the Golden Rod (G2). She rebounded with a convincing victory in the Untapable S. at Fair Grounds in late December and added the Rachel Alexandra (G2) to her ledger in mid-February. After her lone loss this season, a runner-up in the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2), Walsh added blinkers and Pretty Mischievous responded with a pair of top-class wins.
“I think the blinkers have really helped her because before when we made the lead, she would just go to a complete stop,” Gaffalione said. “At least now you’re getting a little bit more out of her.”
Davona Dale (G2) upsetter Dorth Vader, off at 11-1 following a fourth in the Gulfstream Oaks (G2) and a fifth in the Kentucky Oaks, ran well to be a clear second, four lengths better than stakes winner Occult in third. Munny’s Gold, the 8-5 favorite, weakened to fourth after setting the pace in :23.34, :46.37, and 1:10.86. Accede, Randomized, Frosty O Toole, and Goodgirl Badhabits came next under the wire.
Kentucky-bred Pretty Mischievous is the first stakes winner out of the Grade 1-winning Pretty City Dancer, a daughter of Tapit and a half-sister to Grade 1 heroine Lear Princess. This is also the immediate female family of Grade 1-winning millionaire My Big Boy.