Mia Mischief will look to register another stellar effort against stakes company when she takes aim at the 6 ½-furlong Grade 3, $150,000 Victory Ride for 3-year-old fillies on Sunday at Belmont Park.
Carded as Race 9 at 5:50 p.m., the 16th running of the Victory Ride is the second of two stakes on the day, with the $100,000 River Memories for older fillies and mares in Race 7 with an approximate post time of 4:46 p.m.
Owned by Heiligbrodt, Heiligbrodt, Heider Family Stables and Madaket Stables, Mia Mischief has finished no worse than second in seven career starts, with four wins and three runner-up finishes for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen.
The Into Mischief filly won the Grade 2 Eight Belles on May 4 at Churchill Downs, earning a personal-best 97 Beyer Speed Figure. She has won three of her last four starts overall. The only time in that stretch she did not earn a trip to the winner's circle was when Amy's Challenge caught her at the wire to win by a neck in the Dixie Belle on January 20 at Oaklawn Park.
The 2-1 morning line favorite will be ridden by Ricarado Santana, Jr. from post 5.
Peter Deutsch's Take Charge Paula has posted solid performance in routes as well as shorter races, starting her campaign with a 3 ½-length win in the Grade 3 Forward Gal at seven furlongs on February 3 at Gulfstream Park. The Kiaran McLaughlin trainee was also competitive when stretched out, running second in the Grade 2 Davona Dale at one mile on March 3 at Gulfstream and also finishing as the runner-up in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Oaks at 1 1/16 miles on March 31.
Those efforts earned Take Charge Paula a start in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks, where she set the pace for the half-mile before abruptly stopping heading into the second turn and finishing last of 14. She cut back in distance in her last start, finishing third in the 6 1/2-furlong Jersey Girl on June 10.
“Anything six to seven [furlongs] is great for her,” McLaughlin said. “We're happy she's doing well and we'll hope for the best. Last time, she was very wide, so this time, we're going back to a shorter distance and I think it should help.”
Jockey Joel Rosario will have the call for the first time aboard Take Charge Paula, drawing post 7.
“I think it's a good spot and hopefully she'll get back in the winner's circle,” McLaughlin said.
Separationofpowers, trained by Chad Brown, is slated to make her first start since a fourth-place finish in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies on November 4 at Del Mar. The daughter of Candy Ride started her career with two wins and a third-place effort in four starts, winning her debut before running third in the Grade 1 Spinaway on September 2 at Saratoga Race Course.
She then bested a field of 10 to win the Grade 1 Frizette by 3 ½ lengths on October 8 at Belmont, setting herself up for the Breeders' Cup, where she finished off the board by 1 ¾ lengths to Blonde Bomber on a fast track. Fresh off an eight-month break, Separationofpowers, listed at 4-1, will break from post 3 with Jose Ortiz.
Spectator finished second to Midnight Bisou in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks on April 7, building on a win in an optional claimer on March 18 at Santa Anita Park. Trained by Philip D'Amato, Spectator has already won a graded stakes, capturing the Grade 2 Sorrento in August as part of an impressive juvenile campaign in which he won his first two starts and finished third in the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante on September 2 at Del Mar. Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano will ride the 5-1 choice from post 8.
Trainer Linda Rice will saddle a pair of entries who will enter off winning streaks, led by the undefeated Sower. Owned by Leonard Green, Sower is 3-for-3 – all at six furlongs – including a 4 ¾-length win in the Jersey Girl. Meet-leading rider Irad Ortiz, Jr. will break from post 4.
Sower's stablemate D J's Favorite will make her first stakes appearance off back-to-back wins, including last out by 1 ¼ lengths against allowance company on June 17 at Laurel. The Union Rags filly will make her Belmont debut from post 2 with Junior Alvarado.
Rounding out the field is Classy Act, who won an optional claimer after running 10th in the Kentucky Oaks, from post 10; Devine Mischief, runner-up in the Jersey Girl from post 9; Dixie Serenade from post 6; Norma's Charm from post 11 and Cosita Mia from the rail.
A pair of Christophe Clement-trained French-breds will look to handle 1 ½ miles in the River Memories contested on the Widener turf. Flower Fashion, who won by a neck over Samuna at 1 ¼ miles on May 20 over Belmont's turf, made her first two starts since arriving from Europe at Laurel Park, running fifth in the Grade 3 Commonwealth Oaks on September 30 and returned from a nearly seven-month break to run sixth in the Dahlia on April 21 before coming to New York.
“She ran well last time,” Clement said. “I'm pushing it a little bit to go a mile and a quarter. Hopefully, we'll get firmer ground. I'm not sure about it, but it's worth trying.”
Rosario will have the jockey assignment from post 3 with Flower Fashion at 5-1.
Clement's other entry, Silver Step, arrived in North America a winner of a Group 3 race, making her first 15 starts, racing in France, England, Italy and the United Arab Emirates. With consecutive fifth-place finishes in listed stakes on American soil, including the Powder Break on April 28 at Gulfstream Park and the Miss Liberty on June 9 at Monmouth Park, the 5-year-old will break from post 6 with Franco aboard at 12-1.
“She's been disappointing so far in two starts, but she trains better than she races, and it would be a mistake not to try longer,” Clement said.
Estrechada has a graded stakes win on her ledger with the Grade 3 Waya on August 5 at the Spa. The Robertino Diodoro trainee has finished off the board in her last four starts, with three in graded stakes, and the Argentinian-bred is the 5-2 morning-line favorite from post 5.
Violet Blue will be making her first stakes appearance since running ninth in the 2017 Belmont Oaks. She won for the first time in five starts last out for trainer Jimmy Toner, taking an allowance race by 4 ¼ lengths on June 13 at Belmont Park over 1 ¼ miles.
Castellano will ride the 7-2 choice from post 7.
Summersault, for trainer Mark Hennig and ridden by Hall of Famer John Velazquez, will break from the rail; Homeland Security, trained by Brown, drew post 2; Not Taken, a Todd Pletcher trainee, will depart post 4 and the Brian Lynch-trained Savannah Belle drew the outside post.
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