CiLOUISVILLE, KY – Trainer Steve Asmussen’s Mia Mischief made her graded stakes debut a winning one, riding strongly up front throughout to triumphantly take Friday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Eight Belles Stakes presented by Kentuck Trailer at Churchill Downs.
Breaking from post 3 as the 3-2 favorite under Ricardo Santana, Jr., Mia Mischief set the early pace through splits of :22.21 and :44.21 with familiar foe Amy’s Challenge to her inside. Entering the stretch, Mia Mischief began to edge clear while Amy’s Challenge faded, allowing Mia Mischief an uncontested run for the wire. The Steve Asmussen trainee kept running under steady urging to hit the wire first by 1 3/4 lengths in a final time of 1:21.84 for the 7-furlong sprint over the main track.
“I first have to thank Steve,” said Santana, Jr. “He did a tremendous job training her. Today, she tried so hard. It was a very nice field of horses and she was very impressive.”
Talk Veuve to Me finished well for second after closely stalking the lead duo throughout much of the race. The morning line favorite Gas Station Sushi made a wide move in the far turn but ran out of fuel in the stretch. Still, she managed third by 3 1/4 lengths over Salt Bae, with Criminal Mischief, Hold Her Tight, and Amy’s Challenge completing the order of finish.
Mia Mischief’s win was her second straight stakes score after taking the $150,000 Purple Martin Stakes on March 24 at Oaklawn Park. The 3-year-old daughter of Into Mischief now sports a record of 7-4-3-0 with career earnings of $342,340.
“She seems to improve in every start,” Asmussen said. “I made a few mistakes with her in the past, but we figured all of them out, it seems. I saw during the middle of the race on the Big Board that she was well within herself, and she carried herself even on the gallop out way in front.”
Mia Mischief returned $5 to win, $3 to place, and $2.20 to show. Talk Veuve to Me brought back $4.20 to place and $3.40 to show, while Gas Station Sushi paid $3 to show.