MIGHTY MISCHIEF ROLLS IN G3 CHICK LANG
There’s no truth to the rumor that the Grade 3 Chick Lang Stakes is the personal property of Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen. But sometimes it sure feels that way.
Three-year-old Mighty Mischief led from start to finish and held stablemate Jaxon Traveler to win Saturday’s latest edition of the Chick Lang. That win gave Asmussen two straight Chick Lang triumphs, three in the last four years, and five overall.
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The win, his first in stakes company, gave Mighty Mischief three wins in four career starts, all this year. It also pushed his career earnings to $255,200. Mighty Mischief, a three-year-old Into Mischief colt out of the winning Super Saver mare Wealth Creation, is a homebred for owners Bill and Corinne Heiligbrodt.
Among Asmussen’s other Chick Lang winners are Mitole and Yaupon, both for the Heiligbrodts. Mitole won this event in 2018 and the following year took the Breeders’ Cup Sprint en route to honors as the top sprinter. Yaupon, who won here last year, was the beaten favorite in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.
On paper, the Chick Lang seemed to harbor a handful who’d want to be on the front end. But under a hustling ride from Ricardo Santana, Jr., who’s ridden Mighty Mischief in all four of his starts, Mighty Mischief was able to seize the advantage quickly
The duo held the advantage after an opening quarter-mile in a manageable 23.16 seconds, a length to the good of Willy Boi, with John Velazquez up. Willy Boy tightened the margin to a half-length after a half-mile in 45.97 seconds. But Willy Boi was soon to tire, and Mighty Mischief kicked clear nearing the furlong grounds.
“They let me walk the first quarter,” said winning jockey Santana. “I was really happy. He was really comfortable… I knew he was going to accelerate for home, and I just waited for company to come back to me.”
Stablemate Jaxon Traveler went off the favorite based on a resume including a win in the April 24 Bachelor Stakes at Oaklawn Park. He was the only rival to make much headway, but he could get no closer than 1 1/4 lengths while pulling more than two clear of show horse Hemp. Running time for the six furlongs over a fast main track on a glorious May day was 1:09.74.
“The race might have been a little quick back for Jaxon Traveler,” Asmussen admitted. “He didn’t have as much speed as he usually does, and the race got away from a little bit from the half-mile to the three-eighths.”
Mighty Mischief paid $5.60 as the second choice, behind stablemate Jaxon Traveler, in the field of six. He topped an exacta which returned $5.30 for a dollar.