June 8, 2023

Maximus Mischief joins Kentucky Derby trail with Remsen win

Maximus Mischief captures the Remsen Stakes (G2) at Aqueduct under jockey Frankie Pennington on December 1, 2018 (c) NYRA/Viola Jasko/Adam Coglianese Photography

Maximus Mischief parlayed a front-running trip into a 2 ¼-length decision in Saturday’s Remsen (G2) at Aqueduct, remaining unbeaten in his stakes debut. The Into Mischief colt earned 10 points toward a berth in the first leg of the Triple Crown winning the Road to the Kentucky Derby series qualifier and Frankie Pennington was up for Robert “Butch” Reid Jr.

Campaigned by Cash is King LLC and LC Racing, Maximus Mischief was exiting a pair of convincing wins at Parx. He opened his career with an 8 3/4-length tally over maiden special weight rivals in late September and won an entry-level allowance at seven-furlongs by six lengths on October 20.

The bay two-year-old stretched out to 1 1/8 miles in the Remsen and tracked Gladiator King through an opening quarter-mile in :25.12 before taking a short lead on the backstretch. Up by a half-length after a half-mile in :50.67, Maximus Mischief stretched his advantage to a length while completing six furlongs in 1:14.60 on the far turn.

Tax tried to make a run at the leader nearing the completion of the far turn but was turned away in upper stretch as Maximus Mischief drew away from the competition, reaching the mile mark in 1:38.48 with a 2 1/2-length lead. The winner cruised home in deep stretch and stopped the teletimer in 1:51.34.

“Running short he was always so sharp and keen, but Butch Reid did an awesome job getting him ready for this race,” Pennington said. “He broke well. Going into the first turn he relaxed right back to me and put his ears up and I knew he was going to be good today.

“He’s the kind of horse that will do it easy by himself, but as soon as he feels the pressure, he becomes an even better horse. When he feels that fight coming, that’s what he likes.”

Off as the 7-5 second choice among seven runners, Maximus Mischief has now earned $192,100 from three starts.

“He came through in fine colors as far as I’m concerned,” Reid said. “I was really concerned that it was a deep racetrack at Aqueduct. Parx is pretty deep, and maybe that’s helped him a little bit. They’ve been running slow times down here. I watched the beginning of the card and I was hoping it was a little faster than that, but to go from seven-eighths to a mile and an eighth, especially the way he did it, is a pretty good accomplishment.

“He runs the turns really well and he swaps leads really good so that’s generally where he gets the drop on them. The first thing Frank said when he came off the horse was that when he went into the first turn, (Maximus Mischief) pricked his ears and settled down – and he hadn’t had too many horses around him early in his career – that he wasn’t worried about the horses inside or outside of him, so that’s a really good sign.”

Network Effort, the even-money favorite following a runner-up in the November 4 Nashua (G3), offered a belated run for second while never a threat to the winner. Tax, who was off at 17-1 after a maiden claiming win at Churchill Downs, finished a half-length back in third. It was another 6 1/4 lengths to fourth-placer Bourbon War.

Bred in Kentucky by Jane Mulholland, Maximus Mischief was purchased for $340,000 at Fasig-Tipton Maryland May sale earlier this year. He’s the second foal to race out of the Songandaprayer mare Reina Maria, who counts juvenile Grade 1 winner Secret Compass as a half-sister.