HOT SPRINGS, AR – Bill and Corinne Heiligbrod’s Mia Mischief was all business on Saturday, terrorizing her foes with ease in the $150,000 Purple Martin Stakes at Oaklawn Park.
Sent postward as the heavy 3/5 favorite under Ricardo Santana, Jr., Mia Mischief initially settled off the pace while Salt Bae led through opening splits of :21.46 and :45.16. Making her bid at the 3/8-pole, Mia Mischief swung into action in the far turn and hit the top of the stretch with a 2-length lead. The Steve Asmussen trainee was ridden out to the wire in fine fashion, winning by 8 1/4 lengths in a final time of 1:09.65 for the 6-furlong main track event.
“She acted great the whole time,” said assistant trainer Darren Fleming. “I thought she relaxed nice off the pace. I’m sure everybody expected us to be the pace, but Ricardo changed it around, and she relaxed nice behind them and came and got them.”
Salt Bae tired after trying in vain to chase the winner, but she still managed to hold onto second by 1 1/2 lengths over Criminal Mischief. A photo finish for fourth was awarded to Turbo Shaft by a nose over Buy Sell Hold, with Clay’s Dialing In, Vision of Justice, and Msbrooklynbrawler completing the order of finish.
Mia Mischief’s win was her first of the year and improved her overall record to 6-3-3-0 with career earnings of $220,800. The Purple Martin was the second start in 2018 for the 3-year-old daughter of Into Mischief, following a hard-fought second-place finish last out here in the $125,000 Dixie Belle Stakes.
“She was a little tired last time,” said Santana, Jr. “We have a lot of confidence in her. I knew she was going to be pretty fit for this race. Today, she fit unbelievable, and we had a perfect trip. We turned for home, and she came home pretty good. She was much the best today.”
Mia Mischief returned $3.20 to win, $2.40 to place, and $2.10 to show. Salt Bae brought back $4.20 to place and $3.60 to show, while Criminal Mischief paid $4.80 to show.