Kentucky Derby trail: Maximus Mischief cruises in Remsen

Kentucky Derby trail: Maximus Mischief cruises in Remsen
Photo: Elsa Lorieul/NYRA

Maximus Mischief, who entered Saturday’s Grade 2, $250,000 Remsen Stakes with the top Beyer Speed Figure from this 2-year-old crop, backed up his billing to win in his first start on a major circuit.

The Butch Beard-trained son of Into Mischief broke his maiden, then beat winners at his Parx Racing base in Pennsylvania before heading to New York for the Remsen, a 2019 Kentucky Derby points prep.

“I don't think there's any limit to the distance he can go," Reid said after the colt went gate to wire for a 2 1/4-length victory at Aqueduct.

Maximus Mischief broke alertly, set all the fractions and wore down the longshot Tax, who pressed to his outside until the late going. Network Effect, bet down late to even-money favoritism, ran on late for second.

RELATED: Maximus Mischief hits the Derby Radar



Maximus Mischief clicked off fractions of 25.12, 50.67 and 1:14.60 on an afternoon when the track was playing slow. His final time under jockey Frankie Pennington was 1:51.34 for nine furlongs, only an eighth of a mile shorter than he’d go should the Cash is King and LC Racing charge make it to Churchill Downs for the Derby.

“I was really concerned about (how) it was a deep racetrack at Aqueduct," Reid said. "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 today. I was hoping it’s a little faster than that. To go from 7/8 (of a mile) to a mile and an eighth and do it the way he did is a pretty good accomplishment, I would say.”

Saturday’s Remsen represented the first sign this runner could be for real after he registered a 98 Beyer last time at Parx, though Maximus Mischief faced just two rivals that day.

"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," Pennington said. "When he feels that fight coming, that's what he likes."

“Frankie told me — it was the first thing he said when he came off the horse — when he went into the first turn, he pricked his ears and settled down," Reid added. "He hadn’t had too many horses around him early in his career, and he wasn’t worried about the horses inside or outside of him, so that’s a really good sign for a horse, I believe.”

Bourbon War, an off-the-turf maiden special weight winner, finished fourth in a race where the Top 4 finishers were awarded Derby points on a 10-4-2-1 basis.

Reid said Maximus Mischief will likely spend his winter at Gulfstream Park in Florida.

 

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