Miz Mayhem to put streak on line in Stormy Blues
Wise Gal. Photo by Laurie Asseo.
From a Maryland Jockey Club release
South Florida-based homebred Miz Mayhem, whose four consecutive victories include back-to-back stakes triumphs, will put both her streaks on the line in Saturday’s $100,000 Stormy Blues at Laurel Park.
The 5 ½-furlong Stormy Blues for 3-year-old fillies on the Fort Marcy turf course is the richest stakes of Laurel’s 40-day summer meet and is joined on the 11-race program by the $75,000 Concern Stakes for 3-year-olds going seven furlongs on the main track. First race post time is 1:10 p.m.
Trained by Eddie Plesa Jr. for his wife, Laurie, Miz Mayhem enters the Stormy Blues having won her last four starts by 14 ½ combined lengths, all at five furlongs over Gulfstream Park’s turf course and each as the favorite, a role she figures to repeat against 11 rivals. She is 2-1 on the morning line.
This will mark the first trip north for Florida-bred Miz Mayhem since finishing fourth in an off-the-turf edition of the Colleen Stakes last August at Monmouth Park, where her trainer had previously spent the summers.
“She really has come into her own. She had always shown ability and it all has come together down here,” said Plesa from Florida. “Certainly her being a Florida-bred … [was] part of the equation that we decided to stay down here. I thought I had some horses that would fit the program down here, and certainly she’s done more than I would have expected.”
Four of Miz Mayhem’s five career wins from 12 starts have come on the grass, all at five furlongs and each after setting or pressing sizzling early fractions. Her first stakes win came in the Cedar Key April 27 and she followed up by beating older horses in the Nicole’s Dream June 10.
“It’s nice that she’s a house horse,” Plesa said. “It’s a 3-year-old filly race. It’s still a distance away, but she’s training good and doing good. I looked over the [past performances] on the race and I think she belongs in the race. I’m anxious for her to see how she does.
“She’s run some pretty fast races,” he added. “Every once in a while you get a horse like this. We’re just enjoying the ride right now.”
The ride with Miz Mayhem wasn’t always smooth. Plesa said the bay daughter of Yesbyjimminy was affected early in her career by a condition called stringhalt, which horses can outgrow but one her connections decided to have surgically corrected.
“Stringhalt is an over exaggeration of a limb,” Plesa said. “It’s not something where they do a lot of surgeries, but it was something that after she won and broke her maiden I decided to do it. I’m sure that’s been part of [her improvement]. It’s helped her, but she’s also just gotten better as she’s gotten older, so it could be a combination of things.”
Regular rider Edgard Zayas will make the trip from South Florida to ride from Post 2 at co-topweight of 122 pounds.
Among Miz Mayhem’s rivals will be a pair of fellow multiple stakes winners in Limited View (12-1) and Almond Roca (15-1). Based at Laurel with trainer and co-owner John Salzman Jr., Limited View is entered to make her turf debut after winning five of her first 10 starts, three of them in Laurel dirt stakes, the most recent coming in the six-furlong Marshua Jan. 27. Last time out, she took a 1 ½-length lead into the stretch before tiring to third in the seven-furlong Alma North June 16. Hall of Famer Edgar Prado rides from Post 8.
Chadds Ford Stable’s Almond Roca is seeking her first win since taking back-to-back dirt sprint stakes at Tampa Bay Downs over the winter for Fair Hill, Md.-based trainer Graham Motion. Her last race also came in the Alma North, where she held a narrow lead through a half-mile but faded to be fourth.
“I thought her last race was a better effort. I feel like we’re heading in the right direction with her,” Motion said. “I still think she’s capable of better, but I kind of like the idea of shortening up to 5 ½ [furlongs] and I still feel that she handles the grass pretty well. She needs to be sprinting.”
Almond Roca, by sprint champion Speightstown, has raced twice before on turf, not since finishing sixth in the 1 1/16-mile Florida Oaks (G3) at Tampa, her graded debut. She broke her maiden with a front-running four-length romp over Laurel’s world-class turf course last Sept. 29 at the Stormy Blues distance.
“This seems like a logical spot for her to come back,” Motion said. “You’re so limited with 3-year-old fillies sprinting on the turf, but I think it’s something where she can do either [turf] or [dirt]. Obviously this weekend will decide a lot as far as going forward.”
“I feel like we got off track a little bit after we left Florida, so I’m looking to get her back on track,” he added. “She seems to be doing well in the morning. It’s possible that she was running against lesser horses in Florida but her numbers were very good.”
Forest Boyce has the call on Almond Roca from Post 5 at 122 pounds.
D J’s Favorite ships in from the New York barn of trainer Linda Rice having won two straight races, both in Maryland. She broke her maiden May 18 at legendary Pimlico Race Course and came back to take an entry-level allowance June 17 at Laurel, each going six furlongs. Horacio Karamanos, aboard for both starts, will ride back from Post 10.
Red Baron’s Barn’s Factorofwon (8-1) will be making her East Coast debut in the Stormy Blues for trainer Phil Schoenthal. The gray or roan daughter of The Factor made her first eight starts in California, two of them wins, including the 6 ½-furlong Black Pearl Stakes last out May 27 over Santa Anita’s downhill turf course.
Completing the field are 2017 Selima Stakes winner Wise Gal, stakes-placed Classy Dancer and Smokinpaddylassie, and Belles Orb, History Supreme, Nellysford and Sensible Myth.