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Busher Preview: Trimming A Runway To The Oaks
Make Mischief (right) winning the Maddie May (Credit: NYRA / Chelsean Durand)

Busher Preview: Trimming A Runway To The Oaks

OZONE PARK, NY – Gary Barber’s Make Mischief headlines a field of sophomores trying to trim a runway to the Kentucky Oaks (G1) that goes through Saturday’s $250,000 Busher Invitational Stakes at Aqueduct.

The Busher is a one-turn dirt mile restricted to 3-year-old fillies and has a local post time of 3:29 PM. This year’s edition is the sixth event on a 10-race card that includes the Gotham Stakes (G3), a Kentucky Derby (G1) prep.

The Busher is part of the Road to the 2021 Kentucky Oaks prep race season awarding 50 points for the win, 20 for second, 10 for third, and 5 for fourth.

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Here’s a look at the full field for the Busher:

1. Miss Brazil 2/1 – After finishing third on debut in a turf sprint, she won back-to-back dirt sprints over this course including the 7-furlong Ruthless Stakes last time out as the 2/5 favorite. That last effort came against just two other rivals and she was the lone speed on paper; she doesn’t get nearly the same setup here.

“She leads us to believe that 7 furlongs to a mile is within her ability, but we’ll find out for sure,” Dutrow said. “She’ll probably meet the best horses she’s ever faced before, and with an added distance, so we know we have to past this test, but I’m happy with how the progression has gone so far.”

2. Laobanonaprayer 5/1 – She defeated New York-breds in the 1-mile Maid of the Mist Stakes at Belmont Park and the local 7-furlong Fifth Avenue Stakes in December. The Daniel Velazquez trainee was second in a muddy edition of the 6 1/2-furlong Franklin Square Stakes in mid-January but should appreciate catching an expected cleaner track here.

“She’s been doing good and we’ve gotten the works that we’ve needed,” Velazquez said. “We’re excited to see open company and the level change. I think this race sets up perfect. I know that I hit every work that I needed to hit. Now, it’s just a matter of her having the talent and ability and a getting a good trip to get the win.”

3. Search Results 7/2 – She steps up to the stakes ranks after winning her debut by 4 lengths in a 6-furlong Gulfstream Park dirt sprint on January 3, but while this is her first test against winners, this isn’t the saltiest field. The first of two from trainer Chad Brown has worked steadily since then while with Brown’s main contingent in Florida.

“We gave her some time since that (first) race to recover and get in a good rhythm with her works,” Brown said. “She seems ready to run again now.”

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4. The Grass Is Blue 5/1 – She cuts back after winning late January’s 1 1/8-mile Busanda Stakes, the local prep for this event, while wearing blinkers for the first time. Brown’s second entry is one of two in this field to have won 3 times; after breaking her maiden on debut while in for a $25k tag, she repeated next out going 6 1/2 furlongs.

“She’s really come along nicely in her development,” Brown said. “I didn’t want to cut her back in distance, but she’s been thriving in New York this winter in the environment and I didn’t want to take that away from her. She was sharper with the blinkers on and pulling on (the jockey) a bit, so maybe a cutback won’t hurt her.”

5. Mo Desserts 5/2 – After finishing third on debut in a 6-furlong sprint, she wired her rivals by 15 1/2 lengths over this course and distance on February 8. A daughter of the 2016 Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Nyquist, she faces a tougher pace setup on paper in this event but could sit off and stalk, waiting for a meltdown at the top of the stretch.

6. Make Mischief 8/1 – The most experienced runner in the field has won 3 of 7 starts and both tries in 2021, including the Maddie May Stakes going a local muddy mile last month. Despite only finding victory against fellow New York-breds, her impeccable breeding and current form make her a logical price option against this group.

“She came out of that race good, so we’re running,” trainer Chris Englehart said. “She’s a big, strong filly. Last race, coming up the fence the way she did, she showed a lot of courage.”

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