June 17, 2021

Mighty Mischief sharp in Chick Lang; Special Reserve much the best in Maryland Sprint

Mighty Mischief wins the Chik Lang 2021
Mighty Mischief wins the 2021 Chick Lang Stakes (G3) (Photo by Bill Denver/Maryland Jockey Club)

Four graded events on the main track, including three sprints, were offered on Saturday’s stakes-packed Preakness Stakes program at Pimlico.

Chick Lang (G3)

Mighty Mischief confirmed himself as a major presence in the three-year-old sprint division, rolling to a 1 1/4-length victory in the $200,000 Chick Lang S. (G3). The William and Corinne Heiligbrodt homebred stretched his win streak to three in his stakes debut, and Ricardo Santana Jr. was up on the exciting Into Mischief colt for Steve Asmussen.

The Hall of Fame trainer has captured a record five editions of the six-furlong Chick Lang. Asmussen teamed with the Heiligbrodts to win last year with Yaupon and the 2018 edition with champion Mitole.

“This is a nice horse,” Santana said. “We have a lot of confidence in him. We’ve always loved this horse from Day 1. He’s improved a lot. They let me walk the first quarter. I was really happy. He was really comfortable.”

After establishing reasonable fractions in :23.16 and :45.97 on a short lead, Mighty Mischief widened his advantage entering the stretch. The bay Kentucky-bred was never seriously challenged winning comfortably, stopping the teletimer in 1:09.74.

Asmussen also finished second with Jaxon Traveler, who was favored at even-money for different ownership connections.

“The only thing that could have been better is a dead heat,” Asmussen said. “I think they’re both very quality horses.”

Mighty Mischief left the starting gate as the 9-5 second choice. A close second when making his career debut in early February, the sophomore followed with a romping wire-to-wire maiden score at Oaklawn Park six weeks later. He was exiting a 4 1/2-length tally in an entry-level allowance at Oaklawn on April 10.

Jaxon Traveler, a convincing winner of the April 24 Bachelor S. at Oaklawn in his previous outing, chased in second the entire way, and it was another 2 1/2 lengths back to late-running Hemp in third. Wily Boi, Palatial Time, and Shackled Love came next under the wire.

Mighty Mischief is out of Wealth Creation, a daughter of 2011 Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver.

Maryland Sprint (G3)

Special Reserve pounced turning for home in the $150,000 Maryland Sprint S. (G3), convincingly earning his first stakes win by a 1 3/4-length margin. Irad Ortiz Jr. guided the five-year-old gelding, who is proving to be another successful reformed claimer for Mike Maker.

Paradise Farms Corp. and David Staudacher campaign Special Reserve, who was claimed for $40,000 at Oaklawn Park in early February. After posting a two-length victory over allowance/optional claiming foes, the bay son of Midshipman finished second in the April 3 Commonwealth S. (G3) at Keeneland in his initial stakes outing. The Kentucky-bred increased his bankroll to $358,647 from a 19-6-1-7 record.

It marked the third graded stakes triumph of the weekend for Maker, who won Friday’s Black-Eyed Susan (G2) and Pimlico Special (G3) with Army Wife and Last Judgment, respectively. The latter was also a reformed claimer.

“He was in at Oaklawn (for a $40,000 claiming tag on Feb. 6),” Maker said. “(We said), we’ve got to have this horse, and we claimed him. He had a bit of a bleeding issue that we addressed and got taken care of, and the rest is history. We originally liked him because he was still eligible for two-other-than (allowances). You never know in this game.”

Special Reserve, the 39-10 second choice, chased 5-2 favorite Strike Power through opening splits in :22.94 and :45.38 before seizing control. He turned six furlongs in 1:08.91.

“The horse broke great and put me in the race very quick out of there, I had a horse inside with speed,” Ortiz said. “I just relaxed and tried not to fight with him too much. He came back to me, so I left him there and when I asked him, he took straight off for me to win.”

Strike Power held second by 1 1/4 lengths over Frosted Grace. Mucho closed for fourth, and Laki, War Tocsin, Threes Over Deuces, Lebda, Seven Nation Army, Yodel E. A. Who, and Breezy Gust rounded out the finish.

Bred in Kentucky by Russell L. Reineman Stable, Special Reserve is out of the Hard Spun mare Love Spun.

Skipat

Daniel Lopez and George Chestnut’s homebred Chub Wagon stylishly remained unbeaten in the $100,000 Skipat S., defeating open rivals by a two-length margin. The Pennsylvania-bred four-year-old filly improved to 6-for-6 for trainer Guadalupe Preciado, and Irad Ortiz was up on the daughter of Hey Chub.

Favored at 6-5 against six older females, Chub Wagon rated a couple of lengths back in third before launching her move nearing the completion of the far turn. The bay miss overhauled pacesetter Dontletsweetfoolya in upper stretch, and Chub Wagon drove clear through the latter stages.

Her first five wins had come wire-to-wire.

“We wanted to try to do that (sit off the pace), and today was the perfect day,” Preciado said. “We wanted to see if she could rate in case, one day, we’ve got a lot of speed, we know whether we can do it or not. And it worked out good today. We know she can come from behind.”

“She relaxed more,” Ortiz added. “I broke out of there, I see the other horse had some speed, so I just went to Plan B. She relaxed. She did great. She was all class. When I asked her to run, she just went on like a nice horse.”

Chub Wagon completed the six-furlong distance in 1:09.71.

Casual rallied from last to finish a non-threatening second, a nose better than late-running Club Car. Next came Dontletsweetfoolya, Never Enough, Call on Mischief, and French Empire.

Chub Wagon is out of the Lion Heart mare Takin the Plunge, a half-sister to Grade 3 winner Chublicious and restricted stakes victor Brother Chub, who are both by Hey Chub.

With Saturday’s payday, Chub Wagon has now earned $227,800. She made her debut last fall, winning a pair of stakes at Parx, and had won her three previous starts this year by a combined 22 1/4 lengths, most recently taking the restricted Unique Bella S. at Parx on April 27.

“She’s a nice filly,” Preciado said. “She does whatever we ask of her. The first time I breezed her, you could see right away the talent. Any good horse you can see the way they do it.”

Sir Barton

The King Cheek kicked off the stakes action with a game win in the $100,000 Sir Barton S. for three-year-olds, re-rallying in deep stretch to edge 3-5 favorite Hozier by a head. Jamie Ness trains the New York-bred gelding for Morris Kernan Jr. and Jagger Inc., and Jaime Rodriguez was up.

Off at 4-1 in the five-horse field, The King Cheek sped forward to show the way on a short lead at the break. Market Cap stumbled at the start, dislodging Joel Rosario, and walked off the track. Rosario left on his accord, as well, and continued riding on the program.

With The King Cheek traveling well off the rail, Hozier advanced along the inside to take the lead rounding the far turn. The King Cheek kept plugging away, never more than a neck back of his rival, and got up in the final strides to prevail, completing the 1 1/16-mile distance in 1:42.81.

Last seen posting a three-length win in a six-furlong optional claiming event at Parx on May 3, The King Creek stretched out to two turns for the first time in the Sir Barton.

“The favorite came up inside us, it looked like, uh-oh,” Ness said. “But he re-engaged and it was a hard-fought battle right to the wire, and luckily we got in front. I always thought he was a two-turn horse.”

Hozier wound up 9 1/2 lengths clear of Romp in third, and Golden Gulley trailed. By Laoban, The King Cheek was bred Pucker Ridge Farm. The bay was claimed for $25,000 for his second start at Delaware Park, ultimately graduating the third time out in early November at Parx. Unplaced in his first two stakes attempts, The King Cheek improved his career mark to 9-4-2-0, $192,575.