The Gulfstream Park Sprint, a six-furlong dash for 4-year-olds and up, and the $100,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint (G3), a five-furlong race for older horses on turf, co-headlined a 12-race program that also featured a mandatory payout of the 20-cent Rainbow 6 jackpot pool.
Mischevious Alex, who was sent to post as the 2-5 favorite in a field reduced to four by scratches, recorded his second straight victory of the 2020-2021 Championship Meet with the April 3 Carter (G1) at Aqueduct or the Golden Shaheen (G1) on the March 28 Dubai World Cup undercard being targeted for his next start.
“The Carter is the primary goal. The Dubai sprint is in our minds, but where going to talk it over and decide,” trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. said. “[Cash is King LLC’s] Chuck [Zackney] has a game plan to try to win a Grade 1 this year.”
Mischievous Alex, who won a Jan. 10 optional claiming allowance impressively while making his first start for Joseph off a five-month layoff, broke alertly to contest the early pace outside pacesetter Cajun Brother and inside Frosted Grace along the backstretch. Cajun Brother ran the first quarter of a mile in 22.45 with Mischevious Alex traveling comfortably to his outside under Irad Ortiz Jr. The odds-on favorite moved to a narrow lead on the turn into the homestretch with Frosted Grace looming boldly to his outside. Asked for some run at the top of the stretch, the 4-year-old son of Into Mischief offered a powerful kick to win with authority.
“It worked out well. He got the job done,” Joseph said. “He broke well and I was happy how he broke. For a brief moment, where he was in a little tight, Irad did a great job of maintaining his spot. After that, he stayed six furlongs strongly. At six furlongs, you don’t have to worry about him stopping. He keeps getting stronger towards the end.”
Mischievous Alex, who captured the 2020 Swale (G3) at Gulfstream, ran six furlongs in 1:09.55.
“I got a good trip. The horse put me in a good position early. I think [Cajun Brother] had the speed from the break so I just let him go ahead. I sat there and was patient and when it was time to let him go, I just let him go and he responded really well,” Ortiz said. “He’s doing great.”
Frosted Grace finished second under Luis Saez, a half-length ahead of Cajun Brother and jockey Miguel Vasquez.
Gulfstream Park Press Release, Coglianese Photos, Lauren King