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The Brendan Walsh-trained Pretty Mischievous won the 2023 Test Stakes (G1) at Saratoga for her 3rd straight score at the Grade 1 level.
Godolphin homebred Pretty Mischievous crossed the wire first, posting a victory by a head in Saturday’s Grade 1, $500,000 Test for 3-year-old fillies at Saratoga Race Course.
The 98th running of the seven-furlong Test saw previously undefeated New York-bred Maple Leaf Mel, trained by Melanie Giddings, lead the seven-horse field through every point of call and was drawing away from the rest of the field before sustaining a catastrophic injury to her right front leg just strides from the wire, with the subsequent spill unseating her jockey, Joel Rosario.
Despite the immediate response of on-site veterinarians, the filly was humanely euthanized due to the severity of the injury. Rosario incurred a cut to his inner lower lip and booked off the remainder of his mounts to have stitches put in place.
Pretty Mischievous, who closed from fifth at the top of the stretch, notched her third consecutive Grade 1 win, following victories in the Kentucky Oaks in May at Churchill Downs and the Acorn on Belmont Stakes Day in June for trainer Brendan Walsh. Pretty Mischievous bested runner-up Clearly Unhinged while Munnys Gold finished third. Dorth Vader, Jersey Pearl and Tappin Josie completed the order of finish. Interpolate was scratched.
After wins going route distances, Pretty Mischievous, under jockey Tyler Gaffalione, proved victorious in a graded sprint. Off as the 9-5 favorite, the Into Mischief filly returned $5.70 on a $2 win wager while fortifying her case for divisional supremacy in winning for the seventh time in nine starts.
But Walsh said the thoughts of the connections were extended to Giddings, Rosario and owner August Dawn Farm [led by NFL Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells] for the loss of Maple Leaf Mel.
“It’s just cruel what happened. I just feel terrible for Melanie and that whole team,” Walsh said. “That must be gut-wrenching. My filly ran her race, but that’s another story. I don’t know what to think right now.”
Added Gaffalione: “To be honest, I’m a bit lost for words right now. I feel so bad for the connections of Mel. It’s hard to enjoy this one thinking about that. My condolences go out to their team. Hopefully they’re able to get through this and God bless them.”
Maple Leaf Mel led the field with splits of 22.28 seconds for the quarter-mile, the half in 44.58 and three-quarters in 1:09.34 over the fast main track. The daughter of Cross Traffic had won her first five career starts entering the Test, including back-to-back graded stakes wins with scores in the Grade 3 Miss Preakness in May at Pimlico and the Grade 3 Victory Ride in July at Belmont. She won at least one race at all three NYRA-operated tracks.
Pretty Mischievous, out of the Grade 1-winning Tapit mare Pretty City Dancer, now owns a 9-7-1-1 for purse earnings of $1,756,560.
Live racing resumes Sunday at Saratoga with a 10-race card featuring the Grade 3, $200,000 Adirondack in Race 8. First post is 1:10 p.m. Eastern.
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