May 26, 2024

Honest Mischief tackles stakes company again in Amsterdam

Honest Mischief (Coady Photography)

So impressive in graduating was Honest Mischief at Keeneland in April that he started favored against 10 rivals in last month’s Woody Stephens (G1) at Belmont in his first appearance against winners. In the event, however, the Juddmonte homebred disappointed when finishing sixth by three lengths.

Honest Mischief will attempt to rebound in Sunday’s $200,000 Amsterdam (G2) at Saratoga, a 6 1/2-furlong dash for three-year-olds, but could play second fiddle in the wagering to Shancelot, a stakes rookie who enters off a 6 1/4-length allowance tally at Monmouth Park for trainer Jorge Navarro. Nitrous, second by a neck in the Woody Stephens after a stakes victory at Oaklawn, will also merit a serious look in a contentious field.

“He got a favorable setup in the Woody Stephens and I think (jockey) Ricardo (Santana) and (trainer) Steve (Asmussen) have figured out the way he wants to be ridden,” said David Fiske, owner Ron Winchell’s racing and bloodstock manager, of Nitrous. “It looks like he’s a closing sprinter, so he seems to have done well the past three races or so. He just needs some pace in front of him. Typically, that’s not a problem at Saratoga. Hopefully, he can get up on Sunday.”

Strike Silver set the pace in the Woody Stephens, but weakened to fourth in the final furlong. He could vie with Shancelot for the lead again, with contenders like Super Comet, Lemniscate, and stakes winner Wendell Fong not far behind.

Achilles Warrior broke his maiden at first asking at Saratoga last August, but was winless in his next four starts before breaking through last time with an allowance victory at Monmouth. The multiple stakes-winning Garter and Tie could make his presence felt late with the right setup, and exits an ostensibly tougher spot when fifth against older horses in the Smile Sprint (G3) at Gulfstream.