A few hours after Saudi Crown scored a breakthrough victory in the Pennsylvania Derby (G1), trainer Brad Cox turned a stakes double Saturday night at Churchill Downs. Slip Mahoney likewise shed his stakes bridesmaid status in the $300,000 Bourbon Trail S., while Everso Mischievous rolled in his stakes debut in the $298,500 Harrods Creek S.
Bourbon Trail S.
Gold Square’s Slip Mahoney delivered a relentless stretch rally to mug Big Data in the final strides of the 1 3/16-mile Bourbon Trail.
A distant runner-up in the Gotham (G3) and a troubled sixth in the Wood Memorial (G2) on the Kentucky Derby trail, Slip Mahoney wasn’t quite transferring his ability on raceday. He was gelded following a non-threatening fourth in the Long Branch S., and returned a reformed character to win an entry-level allowance convincingly at Saratoga.
Slip Mahoney came much closer in his ensuing stakes attempt in the Aug. 26 St. Louis Derby, where he opened up and just got caught by a head. Gerardo Corrales rode him back at Churchill, and this time, Slip Mahoney was the one pouncing late.
The slight 2.38-1 favorite was nestled just behind the contested pace, as stablemate Manciata d’Oro matched strides with Oscar Eclipse through fractions of :23.63 and :48.04. Oscar Eclipse gained the upper hand by the six-furlong mark in 1:12.63, but just when he put away Manciata d’Oro, along came Big Data to challenge.
Big Data collared the stubborn Oscar Eclipse and began to edge away in upper stretch. Slip Mahoney, who had appeared briefly outpaced on the far turn, found his momentum the further they went down the lane. Galvanized in time, the son of Arrogate thrust his neck in front in 1:56.66, not far off the 1:55.97 track record set by Idol in 2020.
Had the Bourbon Trail been a bit shorter, Big Data might well have racked up his second straight stakes win, after the 1 1/8-mile Super Derby. The Cloud Computing colt is eligible to make his presence felt at the graded level.
Oscar Eclipse soldiered on another 3 1/4 lengths back in third, in a fine stakes debut over a trip that likely stretched him, especially with a pace battle. Rounding out the order of finish were the one-paced Denington, Manciata d’Oro, and Shirl’s Bee, who could appreciate cutting back in distance for his second stateside start. Lincoln Highway was scratched.
Slip Mahoney’s scorecard stands at 9-3-3-0, $450,300. The gray attracted attention in his second career start, a Dec. 17 Aqueduct maiden, when just outdueled by future Blue Grass (G1) and Tampa Bay Derby (G3) hero Tapit Trice. Slip Mahoney duly broke his maiden next out, but didn’t regain the winning thread until his gelding operation.
Bred by Hill ‘N’ Dale Equine Holdings and Philip J. Steinberg in Kentucky, the $150,000 Keeneland September yearling is a half-brother to multiple Grade 3-placed Overtook. They were produced by 2015 Spinster (G1) star Got Lucky, an A.P. Indy mare closely related to Girolamo; Daydreaming (dam of turf millionaire Imagining); She’s a Winner (dam of Bluegrass Cat); and Supercharger (dam of 2010 Kentucky Derby victor Super Saver).
Harrods Creek S.
Qatar Racing’s Everso Mischievous justified 1.19-1 favoritism in the seven-furlong Harrods Creek. Under Cristian Torres, the Into Mischief colt prompted the pace set by Bouncer through splits of :22.79 and :45.31, then stamped his authority swinging into the stretch. Everso Mischievous skipped 3 1/4 lengths clear in a final time of 1:22.15.
Bourbon Bash stayed on as best of the rest by 2 3/4 lengths from Loyal Company, who nipped Determinedly in the photo for third. Next came Bouncer and Mount Up. Praetorian Guard opted for the Gallant Bob (G2) at Parx instead, where he checked in eighth.
Everso Mischievous sports an overall record of 5-3-2-0, $359,640, but he’s a perfect 3-for-3 at this seven-furlong distance. The late-blooming sophomore broke his maiden on Kentucky Derby Day and recently cleared his entry-level allowance condition at the Spa Aug. 5. He’s two heads away from being unbeaten, missing by that margin in his Aqueduct unveiling as well as at Ellis Park June 22.
Originally purchased for $600,000 by China Horse Club/Ghandarvi Racing at Keeneland September, Everso Mischievous was resold to Fergus Galvin, agent, for $85,000 back at the same venue as a juvenile in April 2022. This Qatar Racing found quite a bargain.
Everso Mischievous was bred by Clearsky Farms in Kentucky. His dam, the Medaglia d’Oro mare Ever So Clever, placed in the 2016 Pocahontas (G2) and Golden Rod (G2) before earning her graded laurel in the 2017 Fantasy (G3).