Whether he can get the Kentucky Derby (G1) distance of 1 1/4 miles remains to be seen, but for the purposes of Saturday’s $300,000 Gotham (G3) at Aqueduct, Mischevious Alex just needs to keep doing what he’s been doing lately.
Winner of his last two starts over 7 furlongs by a combined margin of 16 3/4 lengths, Mischevious Alex will step up an additional furlong in trip for the Gotham, a Road to the Kentucky Derby prep that will award qualifying points of 50-20-10-5 to the top four finishers.
Trainer John Servis, who trained Smarty Jones to Derby glory in 2004, has in Mischevious Alex one of the best 3-year-old sprinters of this young season following a seven-length romp in the Swale (G3) last month.
“If he runs good in the Gotham, we’ll have to try him two turns again to see how he handles it,” Servis said. “I think the Wood (Memorial [G2]) would be the most logical spot, but nothing is etched in stone. We have to get by Saturday first.”
There will be 10 rivals for Mischevious Alex to get by, a number of whom were impressive last-out maiden winners. Among them are Attachmate Rate, who won by more than six lengths going a mile at Gulfstream for Dale Romans; War Stomper, a track-and-distance graduate by four lengths for Rudy Rodriguez; and Sixto, who won on debut going 6 furlongs and is sure to improve being by Curlin.
“He’s really a push-button horse,” trainer Eric Guillot said of Sixto. “He’s a late foal and I think once he develops more, he’ll be a nice two-turn horse but for now, the one-turn mile should suit him fine.”
A pair of Swale also-rans have also shown up in the Gotham. Untitled was fourth as the beaten favorite after a rough start, but returned two weeks later to finish second to Gouveneur Morris in a Tampa Bay Downs allowance. Necker Island was fifth in the Swale after a wide trip in what was his first outing since a Nov. 30 allowance score at Churchill Downs in which he nosed out Silver State.
Montauk Traffic, who’s won two in a row including the Jimmy Winkfield S., should find the step up to a mile, and the possibility of a strong pace, agreeable, while Flap Jack was last seen in early September taking the Arlington-Washington Futurity by four lengths over Polytrack.