Although she poses a challenge for the faint of heart, Breeders’ Cup
Turf Sprint Champion Mizdirection
knows where the money is, and in the
words of Trevor Denman, “She’s done it again!” as she remained
undefeated down Santa Anita’s hillside turf course, rallying to overtake
stablemate Schiaparelli to win Saturday’s Grade III, $100,000 Las
Cienegas Stakes by a half length under David Flores, getting 6 ½
furlongs in 1:12.61.
Breaking from the outside post position in a field of five,
Mizdirection, the 2-5 favorite, broke alertly to take the early lead,
but Flores was able to quickly defer to Schiaparelli and Joe Talamo, who
held sway well inside the sixteenth pole through splits of 22.41, 44.64
Trained by Mike Puype, Mizdirection is now a perfect five for five going
6 ½ furlongs down the Camino Real Turf Course.
“She broke well, I was concerned about the break but she broke
clean,” said Flores, who was pinch-hitting for regular rider Mike Smith,
who was away to ride War Academy in today’s Arkansas Derby. “I looked
over and Talamo had a lot of horse so I let him cruise.
“There was no other pressure from anyone else so I just kind of
waited to see how far (Schiaparelli) was going to go. She’s
unbelievable. She knew exactly when she was going to do the job…She is
very smart, she knows what she’s doing.”
Owned by Jim Rome’s Jungle Racing LLC, William Strauss, Daniel
Grohs, Kevin Nish, Michael Kramek and Boris Beljak, Mizdirection, a
5-year-old Kentucky-bred mare by Mizzen Mast, picked up $60,000 for the
win and increased her earnings to $1,154,621.
She paid $2.80, $2.20 and $2.10.
Following her Grade I Breeders’ Cup win down the hill on Nov. 3,
Mizdirection won the Grade II Monrovia Stakes in similar fashion down
the hillside and came back to easily win her most recent start, the
Grade II Buena Vista Stakes on Feb. 18, at one mile on turf.
“Right when you think she’s beat, she finds another gear, she
digs deep and finds a way to get it done,” said Rome. “She’s so tough.
She does not want to lose. That’s a real good filly she ran down.
That horse looked like she freaked and ‘Miz’ just knew it was go-time.
Puype indicated that Mizdirection would make her next start at
Belmont Park, in the Grade I Just a Game, at one mile on turf June 8.
“She never ceases to surprise me,” said Puype. “She’s so
hard-trying, very honest…We had two strong fillies coming off two strong
efforts and they both ran good. It was very hard to separate them at
the wire and I couldn’t be happier.”
Schiaparelli, who came off a 3 ½ length allowance score down the
hill, was off as the third choice in the wagering at 9-2. She paid
$3.60 and $2.20.
“The trip was good but I lost a lot of momentum at the eighth
pole,” said Talamo. “She saw something and kind of propped with me a
little bit and lost a lot of momentum. I think that might have made the
difference between a close finish today.”
Schiaparelli finished 2 ½ lengths in front of Purim’s Dancer,
who was off as the second choice with Tyler Baze at 7-2. Purim’s Dancer
paid $2.10 to show.