ELMONT, N.Y. – A pair of recent maiden graduates at Belmont Park stepped up in class with little trouble and finished one-two in Saturday’s $100,000 Chelsey Flower for 2-year-old fillies, with the Carl Pollard homebred Mischievous Kiss coming out on top over Caironi by a half-length in the 1 1/16-mile event on the Widener turf course.
Having both broke their maidens on October 2 over this same Widener course going seven furlongs, Mischievous Kiss and Caironi were overshadowed in the betting by another impressive Belmont maiden winner in Shad Nation. But the exacta proved too much for the rest of the field, as the runner-up finished 4 1/2 lengths clear of third-place finisher Kneesnhips.
In addition to their nearly identical profiles entering the race, Mischievous Kiss [trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott] and Caironi got similar trips from off the pace, which proved to be the place to be as longshots Lady Milagro and Evangeline Allons tussled through solid early splits of 23.40 seconds for the opening quarter-mile, 46.91 for the half, and 1:11.27 for three-quarters over firm going, with Misthaven perched just to their outside.
Mischievous Kiss, ridden by Eric Cancel, was the first to make a move into the teeth of that swift pace, launching a bold and ultimately winning rally leaving the far turn. Caironi and jockey Kendrick Carmouche followed their lead, but Mischievous Kiss gained enough separation in the stretch, forcing Carioni to settle for second while completing the course in a 1:42.89 final time.
“Eric gave her a great trip,” said Leana Willaford, assistant to Mott. “The horses we figured to show some early speed did just that. He let her relax and get into stride, and when he asked her, she was there for him. The longer she’s been around, the more maturity she’s shown, and she handled things real well today.”
The victory marked Mischievous Kiss’ second from just three career starts, while the Mike Miceli-trained Caironi was making only her second start. The winner, by Into Mischief out of a Kris S. dam, returned $16.20 on a $2 win wager. Her career earnings now stand at $116,500.
“Her next step is between Mr. Pollard and Bill,” Willaford added. “She’ll probably head to Florida with no more turf racing [in New York].”
Following Caironi in second was Kneesnhips, who finished two lengths ahead of fourth-place finisher Ouraika. Shad Nation, Misthaven, Philly Eagles, Evangeline Allons and Lady Milagro completed the order of finish.
Live racing resumes Sunday with Closing Day of the Belmont fall meet. The 10-race card, which features an 11:50 a.m. first post, will feature a pair of stakes in the $150,000 Zagora for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up going 1 1/2 miles on the turf in Race 4 at 1:18 p.m. and the Grade 3, $150,000 Nashua for 2-year-olds in a one-turn mile on the main track in Race 9 at 3:43 p.m.
America’s Day at the Races will present daily coverage and analysis of the fall meet at Belmont Park on the networks of FOX Sports. For the complete broadcast schedule, visit https://www.nyra.com/belmont/racing/tv-schedule.
NYRA Bets is the official wagering platform of Belmont Park, and the best way to bet every race of the fall meet. Available to horseplayers nationwide, the NYRA Bets app is available for download today on iOS and Android at www.NYRABets.com.
NYRA Press Office
Photo: Mischievous Kiss (NYRA/Coglianese)