Mighty Mischief Takes Rail Path To Chick Lang Stakes Victory

The shortest distance from the gate to the wire is the rail path, and Mighty Mischief took it to his first graded stakes victory on Saturday in the Grade 3 Chick Lang Stakes at Pimlico Race Course.

The 3-year-old Into Mischief colt was hustled out of the gate by jockey Ricardo Santana Jr., and quickly separated from a group of second-flight contenders that included Jaxon Traveler, Willy Boi, and Hemp. Mighty Mischief ran easy through an opening quarter in :23.16 seconds, while Willy Boi moved up to challenge on the outside, and Jaxon Traveler was three-wide as they headed into the turn.

Mighty Mischief held his position on the rail through the turn, and he entered the home stretch with a two-length advantage after a half-mile in :45.97 seconds. The colt remained under hand urging by Santana until the final furlong, when the jockey provided the occasional reminder with a right-handed whip.

Nobody emerged to directly challenge the leader, but slight post time favorite Jaxon Traveler was the only one to even be within striking distance when the wire approached, finishing 1 1/4 lengths behind the winner. It was another 2 1/2 lengths back to third-place Hemp, who was three-quarters of a length better than Willy Boi.

Mighty Mischief stopped the clock in the six-furlong sprint in 1:09.74 over a fast main track. He paid $5.60 to win as the field’s second choice.

The Chick Lang was the first graded stakes test for Mighty Mischief, who made his first career start on Feb. 7 in a narrow second-place effort at Oaklawn Park. He then embarked on a two-race winning streak at the same track; most recently taking an April 10 allowance optional claiming race by a front-running 4 1/2 lengths.

Saturday’s victory improved Mighty Mischief’s career earnings to $255,200.

Mighty Mischief races as a homebred for Bill and Corinne Heiligbrodt, out of the Super Saver mare Wealth Creation. He is trained by Steve Asmussen, who also saddled the other part of the exacta.

To view the race chart, click here.

$200,000 Chick Lang (G3) Quotes

Winning Trainer Steve Asmussen (Mighty Mischief) and (Jaxson Traveler, 2nd): “The only thing that could have been better is a dead heat. I think they’re both very quality horses. The race might have been a little quick back for Jaxon Traveler. He didn’t have as much speed as he normally does, and the race got away from him a little bit from the half-mile to the three-eighths.”

(Pre-race instructions?)  “I think that’s covered when you’ve got Ricardo [Santana Jr.] and Irad [Ortiz Jr.]. At this level, this is as good as it gets. I think where they drew made the difference in the outcome of the race.”

“The significance of this is that it’s Corinne Heiligbrodt’s mare and they’re the breeder of this one as well. Not only for them to breed another Chick Lang winner, and I’m sure this is their third Chick Lang winner.”

“Jaxon Traveler has been a very versatile horse. He’s traveled, and being a Maryland-bred, [there are] Mid-Atlantic opportunities for him. Mighty Mischief, this being his first stakes try, we’ll see how he comes out of it and what we need to do with him next.”

Winning Jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. (Mighty Mischief): “This is a nice horse. We have a lot of confidence in him. We’ve always loved this horse from Day 1. He’s improved a lot. They let me walk the first quarter. I was really happy. He was really comfortable. The first quarter, when they let me walk in 23 [seconds], I knew I was going slow. I knew he was going to accelerate for home, and I just waited for company to come back to me. And when they came close to me, I had a lot left.”

Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. (Jaxon Traveler; 2nd): “No excuse. He was running at the end, but the other horse [Mighty Mischief] was hard to catch. The other horse went 23 [seconds], went a little easy the first quarter.”

Trainer Anthony Farrior (Hemp; 3rd): “He ran good. There were a couple of good ones in here. [Jockey Jevian]Toledo rode a great race, sitting behind the speed and made one run. Glad to hit the board. He finished well, and we’re happy with him. He’s a Maryland-bred, so we’ll have a little fun with him in the state. Everyone wants to run on these days. It’s everyone’s dream to run on Preakness Day. I’m just glad the owners gave me a horse that can run. The plan worked good. I knew Steve [Asmussen] would be tough. When he comes, he brings good horses. I am very pleased. I thought we could run third, I really did. The three horses that were favored were all going to go out there and, hopefully, one would falter and we could come running. At the top of the lane, I thought we were going to get a little more of it, but they kept running, too.”

Jockey Jevian Toledo (Hemp): “I was hoping they would stop and I could catch them. They kept running. But my horse, he ran, not 100 percent, he tried 200 percent. So he ran his race, he ran good. The other horses are really nice horses and kept going. I think with the competition here, he should be really nice next time.”

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