Taken out of her typical form racing on or near the lead, South Florida shipper Miz Mayhem overcame the unfamiliar style and surroundings as well as her own nerves to earn her fifth consecutive victory with a 1 ¼-length triumph in Saturday’s $100,000 Stormy Blues at Laurel Park.
The 5 ½-furlong Stormy Blues for 3-year-old fillies, the richest stakes of Laurel’s 40-day summer meet, was the second of two stakes on the 11-race program preceded by Whereshetoldmetogo’s victory in the $75,000 Concern for 3-year-olds.
Favored at 1-2 in a solid field of 10, Miz Mayhem ($3) covered the distance in 1:01.69 over a firm Fort Marcy turf course under regular rider Edgard Zayas. Trained by Eddie Plesa Jr. for his wife, breeder Laurie Plesa, it was the third consecutive stakes win for the Florida-bred filly, the previous two coming at Gulfstream Park.
“She got bounced around coming out of the gate pretty good and then settled in a little farther back than she usually is,” Plesa said by phone from Florida. “She showed a lot of guts and determination and we’re just really proud of her. It’s a good thing for us.”
After showing some atypical uneasiness at the gate, Miz Mayhem found some early trouble breaking from Post 2 and bumping with 70-1 long shot Belles Orb to her right before Zayas was able to settle her in third position as multiple stakes winner Almond Roca led through an opening quarter-mile in 22.65 seconds.
Factorofwon, a stakes winner last out at Santa Anita making her East Coast debut, stalked Almond Roca before taking over the top spot after a half in 44.71, as Zayas swung Miz Mayhem into the clear three wide. Factorofwon was determined along the inside to hold off a stubborn Almond Roca into deep stretch but was unable to turn back Miz Mayhem’s steady drive on the far outside.
“It was a different trip than I was used to. Normally, the wins she’s had have been from the outside stalking the pace if not on the lead,” Zayas said. “Today she was a little bit nervous going into the gate and she broke a bit slow, so it was completely different scenario [but] she made it work out. She’s all class, really. She’s an amazing filly.”
Factorofwon held on for second, a neck ahead of fast-closing Classy Dancer. It was another 2 ¼ lengths back to Almond Roca with Belles Orb, Sensible Myth, Smokinpaddylassie, Wise Gal, History Supreme and Limited View completing the order of finish.
Plesa credited his jockey for a patient ride on Miz Mayhem, who now owns six wins, two seconds and two thirds from 13 lifetime starts, the last seven of them with Zayas aboard.
“I think he’s on a path to becoming a top rider, no ifs, ands or buts. He’s pretty much a family-oriented person; I think that’s the reason he’s been down here as long as he has,” Plesa said. “He had a lot of confidence in her, he fits her to a tee and he knows her. I’m just glad he was able to make the trip and made it worthwhile for all of us.”
The $100,000 Coronation Cup for 3-year-old fillies going 5 ½ furlongs on the grass July 30 at Saratoga is among the races Plesa is considering for Miz Mayhem’s next start.
“I’ve got two options. I can take her to Saratoga … or I can bring her back home. There’s a race down here I think it’s a week later,” Plesa said. “I’m going to see how she comes out of the race, see how her numbers are. If she goes to Saratoga I’ll just go ahead and send her to my brother-in-law, [trainer] Jason Servis. I’ll get his input and see what he thinks also as far as how tough a race it could be.”
Whereshetoldmetogo Takes Inside Route in $75,000 Concern
Hugging the rail all the way around, Black Cloud Stable’s Whereshetoldmetogo collared Grade 3-placed pacesetter Old Time Revival in the final furlong and edged clear to a three-quarter-length win in the $75,000 Concern Stakes.
Ridden by Jeremy Rose for trainer Anthony Pecoraro, Whereshetoldmetogo ($5.20) ran seven furlongs in 1:22.61 over a fast main track for his second straight win and third career stakes triumph.
“That was a very good performance from a maturing horse,” Mark Esposito of Black Cloud Stable said. “It is my first open stakes win, so that’s a good thing. I’ll have to talk to Anthony about [what’s next], see how he comes back out of the race and just point from there.”
Midnight Poker, narrowly favored at 7-5, broke on top but was quickly joined and passed on his outside by Old Time Revival, who rolled through the first quarter-mile in 22.76 seconds and the half in 45.68. Rose settled Whereshetoldmetogo in third on the inside and moved up to second when Midnight Poker tipped out three wide leaving the backstretch.
Rose bided his time saving ground and had plenty of room straightening for home when Old Time Revival – who he rode in the Gotham (G3) and Wood Memorial (G2) at Aqueduct this winter – drifted out rounding the far turn. Whereshetoldmetogo dug in for a steady drive through the lane when Old Time Revival remounted a challenge and was well clear.
“I rode [Old Time Revival] in the Gotham and the Wood, so I knew his antics,” Rose said. “As soon as I left the paddock, I was going to stay on the rail every step and it worked out.”
Gotham runner-up Old Time Revival, racing with blinkers removed, was a clear second, six lengths ahead of Midnight Poker, followed by Threes Over Deuces and Birdies Honor. Navy Commander and Make the Rules were scratched.
Whereshetoldmetogo now owns five wins and two seconds from 13 career starts, including victories in the American Fabius Feb. 18 at Gulfstream Park and 2017 First State Dash at Delaware Park.
Notes: Jockey Sheldon Russell registered a riding triple Saturday on Emelina ($9) in the third race, My Sistersledge ($9.20) in the ninth and Ticker Tape Parade ($8.60) in the 11th, while J.D. Acosta and Rosario Montanez each rode back-to-back winners. Acosta was first with Charming Emmy ($9.60) in the fourth and Kierland ($7.80) in the fifth, and Montanez followed aboard Scout’s Honor ($5.20) in the sixth and Uhwarrie Sky ($11) in the seventh.
There will be a carryover of $1,406.45 in the 20-cent Rainbow 6 for Sunday’s 10-race program after multiple tickets were sold Saturday, each worth $1,054.82. There will also be a carryover of $456.29 in the $1 Super Hi-5 for the opener, which has a post time of 1:10 p.m.