LEXINGTON, KY – Juddmonte Farms’ Golden Mischief survived a tight stretch run and a post-race objection to win her first graded event in Saturday’s Grade 2, $250,000 Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes at Keeneland.
The TCA is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” event, with Golden Mischief receiving an automatic berth in the Filly & Mare Sprint at Churchill Downs on Saturday, November 3.
Breaking keenly from post 7 under Florent Geroux at odds of 9/2, Golden Mischief was quick into stride but soon allowed Vertical Oak and Happy Like a Fool to take command through opening fractions of :22.74 and :45.68. Running down the middle of the lane as she turned for home, Golden Mischief waited until an opening appeared to Vertical Oak’s inside and darted through. Putting her head in front inside the final 1/16, the Brad Cox trainee held off a game Chalon in the final stages to win by a head in a final time of 1:09.39 for the 6-furlong sprint over the fast main track.
“She broke super sharp and was a bit closer than what I wanted,” Geroux said. “I waited about two steps to let Chalon go in front of me. I wanted her to be my target, and not the other way around. So I just took a little hold and had her in front of me. I found a nice opening at the 1/8 pole and shot through it, and she just kept on going.”
Caught late, Vertical Oak took third by a neck over the 8/5 favorite Miss Sunset. Happy Like a Fool flattened in the stretch and took fifth by a head over Awestruck, while Rich Mommy headed Curlin’s Approval and Torrent for seventh. Crazy Sweet was never a factor and completed the order of finish.
Following the finish, jockey Ricardo Santana, Jr. (aboard Vertical Oak) claimed an objection against Geroux and Golden Mischief, claiming Golden Mischief’s late move outward caused interference in the late stretch. The stewards, however, did not believe that Golden Mischief had caused Vertical Oak a fair chance at winning, so the claim was disallowed.
Golden Mischief’s win was her third straight following successful scores in small stakes races at Prairie Meadows and Mountaineer and improved her record to 21-10-3-0. The 4-year-old daughter of Into Mischief, purchased at auction last fall for $475,000, has now earned $668,150 in her young lifetime.
“We thought we’d try to get her confidence back and shipped to Prairie Meadows and Mountaineer, and she responded well,” Cox said. “After that, we spaced it out and really pointed for this race. She responded big-time today and trained extremely well coming into it. She didn’t let us down.”
Golden Mischief returned $11 to win, $6 to place, and $3.60 to show. Chalon brought back $5.40 to place and $4 to show, while Vertical Oak paid $4.80 to show.