Mia Mischief showed both patience and grit on the Kentucky Derby undercard, taking a stalking trip and outlasting rivals to win the Grade 1 Humana Distaff — her first Grade 1 victory. Under rider Ricardo Santana Jr., the Into Mischief filly hustled from the gate early and tucked behind early leader Amy's Challenge and withstood pressure from Talk Veuve To Me before drawing up to Amy's Challenge going into the final turn. The pair dueled throughout the turn and into the stretch, but Mia Mischief prevailed, holding off a late charge from favored Marley's Freedom, who ran out of ground.
Amy's Challenge faded but held onto third. The final time for the seven furlongs was 1:21.78.
The race was the second graded victory for the Steve Asmussen filly, who also won the G2 Eight Belles this time last year. More recently, she finished a disappointing ninth in the G1 Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, and launched her 2019 campaign with an allowance/optional claimer win at Oaklawn. She came to the Distaff off a win in the Carousel.
Mia Mischief went off at 11-1 and paid $25.00 to win.
Mia Mischief is campaigned by L. William and Corinne Heiligbrodt, Heider Family Stables and Madaket Stables LLC. She was bred in Kentucky by Spendthrift Farm and is out of Speightstown mare Greer Lynn. She was a $150,000 yearling at Keeneland September and was later pinhooked by McKathan Brothers for $300,000 at Fasig-Tipton's Florida Select 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale.
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HUMANA DISTAFF QUOTES, courtesy of Churchill Downs media office
Ricardo Santana Jr. (rider of Mia Mischief, winner) – “She responded really well today. I sat off of the speed and just waited.”
Steve Asmussen (trainer of Mia Mischief, winner) – “I think the filly looks great right now. She's doing really well and this was our first major target of the year with her. And she came through. It means so much (getting a Grade I) with a filly who tries as hard as she does, as tough a race as she gave us last year. We felt really good about how she was coming into this race, how she was doing, knowing she's run so well over this racetrack.”
(On winning for the Heiligbrodts) — “The Heiligbrodt family, I've won over a 1,000 different races for them and then for them to have a Grade 1 caliber filly right now is very special.”
(Happy with the race set up) — “She was very sharp today and not enough can be said about how well Ricardo (Santana) has done with her. She's a very headstrong, not easy filly and she's definitely listening to him right now and responding.”
Bill Heiligbrodt (owner of Mia Mischief, winner) – “Grade 1s are tough but the mare is that quality mare. She's my kind of horse. Go fast and get to the front.”
Mike Smith (rider of Marley's Freedom, runner-up) – “It's not her favorite track. She doesn't get ahold of it very well. Maybe we were just wishful thinking today. Same track. Same mare. She ran well, but that's just because she's classy. She doesn't like it, though.”
Bob Baffert (trainer of Marley's Freedom, runner-up) – “I was hoping (Marley's Freedom) would be a little bit closer. When I saw the fractions, I thought she was a little bit too far back. I'm not sure if she struggles here or what. I was hoping to be near the pace within a length or two.”
Alex Canchari (rider of Amy's Challenge, third) – “She ran good. It was a tough race with a tough field. The track was a little tiring today, I think it's been favoring horses coming from off of it, not really favoring speed. My filly ran her race.”
Javier Castellano (rider of Spiced Perfection, fourth) – “She was off the pace. There was a lot of speed in the race. She sat right behind the horses, but when I asked her, she just didn't have it today.”
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