HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Multiple graded-stakes winner Mischevious Alex is expected to be a short-priced favorite to capture Saturday’s $100,000 Gulfstream Park Sprint (G3), continuing a most successful Championship Meet for trainer Saffie Joseph Jr.
The Gulfstream Park Sprint, a six-furlong dash for 4-year-olds and up, and the the $100,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint (G3), a five-furlong race for 4-year-olds and up, will co-headline Saturday’s 12-race program that will also feature a mandatory payout of the 20-cent Rainbow 6 jackpot pool.
Joseph, whose year-round success at Gulfstream has attracted the attention of high-profile owners in recent years, is currently sitting second in the trainer standings behind 16-time Championship Meet titlist Todd Pletcher.
“It was my dream as a young kid, 16, 17, 18, coming to Gulfstream from Barbados on holiday,” said Joseph, who grew up in a racing family in Barbados. “I’d see Todd Pletcher win all the titles and win all the races. Just to compete against him, I feel in awe.”
Joseph, who attended Florida International University and trained successfully in Barbados before returning to Gulfstream to follow his dream, has saddled 33 winners during the Championship Meet, four fewer than Todd, entering Wednesday’s program.
“We came into this year with a lot of good horses and good owners who wanted to claim horses at the top level,” the 34-year-old trainer said. “We came in with high expectations. We got off to what I’d say was a slow start in December, but as the year turned everything started to click and we’ve had a good January and February so far. You can’t be more satisfied.”
Mischevious Alex, who is owned by Cash is King LLC and LC Racing LLC, joined Joseph’s stable for his 2021 campaign after a productive 3-year-old season that included victories in the Swale (G3) at Gulfstream and the Gotham (G3) at Aqueduct. Making his first start since finishing sixth in the Aug. 20 H. Allen Jerkens (G1) at Saratoga, the son of Into Mischief made a sweeping move into the stretch and drew off to win by 3 ¾ lengths in a Jan, 10 optional claiming allowance.
“On his form before, it showed he was a very good horse. He had run at Gulfstream before and his race [in the Swale] was just as good,” Joseph said. “I didn’t think we had him fully cranked and see him win like that and quicken away nicely was very impressive.”
Yodel E. A. Who, the Joseph-trained second-place finisher in Mischevious Alex’s stellar return, was claimed for $62,500 out of the race and came back to score an impressive three-length victory in a Feb. 6 optional claiming allowance for trainer Brittany Russell.
Saturday’s $250,000 General George (G3) at Laurel Park had been under consideration, but Mischevious Alex’s connections opted to stay close to home.
“The weather here looks a lot better than there, where there’s snow and cold. We’re going to ship him for his next race. There’s no sense shipping him now and shipping him back,” said Joseph, who listed the April 3 Carter (G1) at Aqueduct as a target race.
Leading rider Irad Ortiz Jr. has the return mount aboard Mischevious Alex, who is scheduled to face six rivals.
Mac Nichol’s Admiral Lynch, who finished second in last year’s renewal of the graded sprint, is scheduled to clash with Mischevious Alex for the second straight race, having finished third in the Joseph trainee’s 2021 debut.
Junior Alvarado has the call aboard the Victor Barboza Jr.-trained 5-year-old son of Super Saver.
William Werner and Team V’s Edgemont Road enters the Gulfstream Park Sprint off an optional claiming allowance victory at Tampa Bay Downs after hopping at the start of the six-furlong sprint. The Eddie Kenneally-trained son of Speightstown previously finished third at Keeneland in the Lafayette, won by Sleepy Eyes Todd, who won the Mr. Prospector (G3) before finishing fourth in the Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G3) at Gulfstream.
Jose Ortiz is scheduled to ride Edgemont Road for the first time Saturday.
Jacks or Better Farm Inc.’s Shivaree, who finished fourth after setting a pressured pace in the mile Jan. 23 Fred W. Hooper (G3), is crossed entered in the Gulfstream Park Sprint and a race at Tampa Bay Downs.
Reeves Thoroughbred Racing’s Frosted Grace, a six-furlong optional claiming allowance winner at Gulfstream last time out; Shadybrook Farm Inc.’s Cajun Brother, who captured the Sunshine Sprint at Gulfstream after finishing third behind Frosted Grace; and Daniel Alonso’s Wind of Change, who finished fourth in the Mr. Prospector last time out; round out the field.
Gulfstream Press Release
Gulfstream Park Photo, Coglianese Photos, Credit Lauren King