One day after posting a win in his stakes debut in Aqueduct's Grade 2, $250,000 Remsen, trainer Robert Reid, Jr. said Maximus Mischief came out of his 2 ¼-length score in good order and shipped back well to his home base at Parx in Bensalem, Pennsylvania.
“It looked like he came out of the race perfectly and made good time, he was safely back in his stall by 9 p.m. or so,” Reid said. “He was a little tired, but he's on his toes this morning.”
Owned by Cash is King Stable and LC Racing, Maximus Mischief improved to 3-for-3 to start his career. The Into Mischief colt won his debut with an 8 ¾-length win in a 5 ½-furlong sprint on September 29 at Parx before winning by six lengths at seven furlongs over the same track October 20.
Stretching out to the Remsen distance of 1 1/8 miles and two turns, Maximus Mischief handled the new challenges with aplomb, earning a 97 Beyer Speed Figure and also netting 10 qualifying points towards the Kentucky Derby on May 4 at Churchill Downs.
“The most impressive part was how he acted in the paddock and all the prerace stuff, because he can be a handful in the paddock,” Reid said. “In his new surroundings, he handled it very well. He stood perfectly in the paddock, which at Aqueduct can be a little foreboding. He handled it great and was cool as a cucumber and stood there perfectly when we put the tack on him. I was pretty confident with the way things were going to go after that.”
Out of the gate, Maximus Mischief, under jockey Frankie Pennington, dueled Gladiator King for the early speed before eventually taking command by the half-mile mark. In the stretch, he dug in against the Chad Brown-trained Network Effect, who was the field's lone graded stakes veteran in having finished second in the Grade 3 Nashua on November 4 at the Big A.
“Frankie did a great job riding him. He didn't worry about the horses inside or outside of him,” Reid said. “Once he switched leads and opened up, I felt really good about it.”
After a brief respite, Maximus Mischief's conditioner said the $340,000 purchase will be headed for warmer temperatures and what is hopefully a bright sophomore year.
“We're going to give him a little break but then we'll be heading down to Florida,” Reid said. “We'll be heading down to Gulfstream Park in the next few weeks and get him used to the weather down there and get him ready to start his 3-year-old campaign.”
Klaravich Stables' Network Effect garnered four points for the 2019 Kentucky Derby with his runner-up finish when he edged Tax by a half-length. The Mark Valeski colt won his first race on August 11 at Saratoga before taking the jump in class in running second to Vekoma in the Nashua.
Brown said Network Effect, the even-money favorite who rallied from fifth, has talent but is looking to take the next step.
“He ran spotty a little bit in the race,” Brown said. “He was in a pretty good position and in the final turn it looked like the eventual winner got away from him a little bit, but late in the race he was starting to gain on him. I thought the winner ran terrific and our horse ran very respectable. He's a work in progress.”
Hugh Lynch and Corms Racing Stable's Tax made a splash for trainer Danny Gargan in his first race for the conditioner since being claimed for $50,000 on October 21 at Keeneland, where he had a maiden-breaking, two-length win for then-trainer Ben Colebrook.
Tax's third-place finish earned him two qualifying points for the “Run for the Roses” and his black type performance in his first stakes start resulted in a 93 Beyer.
“I thought he ran huge. We were expecting a big performance; he's a really good-looking horse,” Gargan said. “He ran really well and the [speed] number came back tremendous, we're really excited about that. He came out of the race great.”
Tax, who has trained at Belmont Park, will likely be kept in New York, said Gargan, who left open the possibility he could run in the $150,000 Jerome for newly minted 3-year-olds on New Year's Day at the Big A.
“He has a really big future. We'll keep him in New York and evaluate him and see where our next stakes spot will be. There's a big chance he'll run next at Aqueduct but if not, there's a couple of different options.”
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