Prospect Watch: Baffert, Brown get Into Mischief colts started

By Keeler Johnson/Special to HRN
November 07, 2019 10:28am

The acclaimed stallion Into Mischief, currently the leading sire in North America, made headlines last weekend thanks to his daughter Covfefe, who produced a powerful performance to win the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint.

Into Mischief could enjoy further success this weekend. The 14-year-old stallion will be represented by a bevy of promising maidens at Del Mar and Aqueduct, including a fast-working prospect conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert.

Which juveniles should you keep your eyes on this week? Here are seven prospects worth watching:


Churchill Downs Race 7: Maiden Special Weight (1 mile)

#5 Total Destruction

Ransom the Moon is best remembered as a two-time Grade 1-winning dirt sprinter, but the speedy Canadian-bred also won running as far as 1 1/8 miles on grass. Half-brother Total Destruction will attempt a similar stretch out on Friday at Churchill Downs while stepping up in class. This Neil Howard-trainee showed little in a $150,000 maiden claiming sprint at Keeneland last month, but Total Destruction actually has the pedigree of a turf/synthetic runner — his sire, Stormy Atlantic, counts two-time Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint champion Stormy Liberal and the speedy Grade 1 miler Get Stormy among his top progeny. Running Total Destruction over a mile at Churchill Downs might be a steppingstone toward switching surfaces with an eye on the 2020 Queen’s Plate Stakes on Tapeta at Woodbine.


Del Mar Race 5: Maiden Special Weight (5 ½ furlongs)

#5 Absolute Unit

This $150,000 yearling purchase hails from a classy family. Sire Will Take Charge was a champion and Travers Stakes (G1) winner, while dam Rutledge Ballado placed in a Grade 3 running 1 1/8 miles on turf. Her previous foals include A Brilliant Idea (a stakes winner going a mile on grass), Morgan’s Guerrilla (runner-up in the 1 1/8-mile Grade 3 Illinois Derby), and Silent Bird (winner of the 6 ½-furlong Grade 3 Midnight Lute Stakes). This is a versatile and generally stamina-oriented pedigree, making Absolute Unit an intriguing prospect for trainer Peter Eurton. Work tab looks solid, though 5 ½-furlong distance might be shorter than ideal.

#6 Authentic

A well-bred son of Into Mischief out of Mr. Greeley mare Flawless, he sold for $350,000 as a yearling. Dam and half-siblings failed to win as juveniles, but Authentic figures to inherit some more precocious blood from his sire. Steady workouts are encouraging, and the last two have been bullet five-furlong moves, but he’s been spending a lot of time at the starting gate and might be a slow starter. Still warrants respect for high-profile team of trainer Bob Baffert and jockey Drayden Van Dyke, though odds figure to be short.

#7 Moon Mischief

Another son of Into Mischief, Moon Mischief was produced from the stakes-placed mare Sister Moon, already the dam of Del Mar Derby (G1) winner Nolde. Draw a line through Moon Mischief’s most recent run considering he was trying turf and adding blinkers. He’ll return to dirt and lose the equipment on Saturday, emulating the conditions that saw him place second behind Baffert’s heavily bet Mo Hawk in September at Los Alamitos. Well-bred prospect could be poised for improvement.

Aqueduct Race 10: Maiden Special Weight (7 furlongs)

#3 Toledo

We featured Toledo prior to his debut sprinting six furlongs at Belmont on September 28, when he rallied to finish second by 1 ¼ lengths against future Nashua Stakes (G3) competitor Americanus. A son of Into Mischief out of a Bernardini mare, Toledo gets another furlong to work with on Saturday and could show improvement second time out for leading trainer Chad Brown, who is already 3-for-10 at the current Aqueduct meet.

#5 Divine Leader

Son of Will Take Charge sold for $230,000 as a yearling and has posted some solid workouts for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, including a bullet half-mile in :47 2/5 over the Belmont Park training track. Pedigree suggests he’ll appreciate the chance to stretch his stride over seven furlongs on debut, and hot jockey Junior Alvarado (5-for-16 so far at Aqueduct) takes the mount. Mott has improved his strike rate with first-time starters over the last couple of years, so don’t assume Divine Leader won’t be ready to fire on debut.

#6 Aasr

Yet another son of Into Mischief, this one trained by Brown, Aasr blew the break in his debut at Belmont on September 21, but rallied late to finish fifth by four lengths in a reasonably fast race. The $340,000 yearling purchase was produced from the Montbrook mare Amen Hallelujah, a two-time Grade 2 winner who placed six times at the Grade 1 level. Aasr’s recent workouts have been sharp, including five furlongs in 1:00 flat on November 3, so with a clean break he can challenge for victory on Saturday.


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