Late Nite Mistress conjuring memories of mom
Roughly five years ago trainer Javier Contreras experienced the two biggest highlights of his career when Late Night Pow Wow won the Grade 3 Charles Town Oaks and then the Grade 3 Barbara Fritchie Stakes at Laurel Park as part of a nine-race win streak bridging 2018 and 2019.
January 4 at Charles Town, things perhaps came full circle when Late Nite Mistress, a three-year-old Into Mischief filly who is Late Night Pow Wow’s first foal, graduated in her local debut and fourth career outing overall when she captured a one-turn maiden special weight dash for three-year-old fillies as the 3-10 favorite. It was also her first try in Contreras’ barn after three tries in Kentucky for trainer Wesley Ward.
“I got her about three weeks before I ran her, and she had a couple of good works over the track,” Contreras said. “She has a lot of the same characteristics that Late Night Pow Wow had. She loves being out on the track, and she loves training. She’s a lot smaller than Late Night Pow Wow. She doesn’t have her mom’s size, she’s on the smaller side, but she definitely wants to be a racehorse.”
Late Nite Mistress galloped home better than three lengths clear in her Charles Town debut, getting the 4 ½ furlongs in 53.70 seconds on a fast main track. She is a Kentucky-bred filly for owner-breeder Breeze Easy LLC, who had purchased Late Night Pow Wow from Contreras during her stellar win streak in the fall of her sophomore season and through the early stages of her four-year-old campaign for Contreras.
Late Nite Mistress had finished fourth in her career debut at Keeneland last April. In a quality field of first-time starters, Late Nite Mistress finished 12 lengths behind winner Youalmosthadme, who would conclude her freshman campaign with four wins, including three stakes, and nearly $500,000 banked from six starts, the last three of those wins coming for trainer Brad Cox after Youalmosthadme was purchased out of her debut win.
“I saw all of her races in Kentucky,” said Contreras of Late Nite Mistress. “She came up against a really good filly in her career debut, and then she was a little better in her next start at Ellis Park. She got a little time off then she tried synthetic at Turfway last time before I got her, and she just looked like she never felt comfortable. But she’s been doing really good for me since I got her. She loves training and she raced well in her local debut for me, although she’s supposed to win that race.”
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In his career, Contreras has won over 880 races, with more than $16 million in purse earnings, from some 5,400 starts.
Late Night Pow Wow, who concluded her career with 12 wins and $700,400 banked from 15 career outings before being retired to begin life anew as a broodmare, was not the first stakes winner for Contreras, who had previously enjoyed success with state-bred runners Hidden Canyon and Amherst Street. But the daughter of Fiber Sonde-Holy Pow Wow and full-sister to more recent state-bred star Muad’dib elevated his career to a different height, bringing him his first and to date only graded stakes wins..
“She was really good at the end of her three-year-old season and she just kept going right through the winter,” Contreras remembered of Late Night Pow Wow, who will become eligible to the West Virginia-bred Hall of Fame in 2025. “For her to win those graded stakes was like winning the Kentucky Derby for a small trainer like me. She gave me a lot of great memories.”
Great memories that he hopes Late Night Pow Wow’s daughter will continue to bring back.
“The other night when Late Nite Mistress won, it brought back a lot of those memories,” Contreras said. “She did it easily. I wasn’t concerned about the final time [53.70] which some people told me was slow. I know she’s got plenty of good races ahead of her, and she’ll be better going two turns.”