Star of Mystery Goes Against the Boys in G1 Jaipur 

June 3, 2024

Star of Mystery scoring the G3, Blue Point Spring in Dubai. (Dubai Racing Club photo)

Presented by Resolute Racing

NYRA Press Office

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Trainer Charlie Appleby will hold a strong hand with Godolphin’s British-bred filly Star of Mystery and Irish-bred Grade 1-winner Mischief Magic in an overflow field for Saturday’s Grade 1, $500,000 Jaipur presented by Resolute Racing, a 5 1/2 furlong sprint for 3-year-olds and up, on June 8 at the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival at Saratoga Race Course. 

The Jaipur offers a ‘Win and You’re In’ berth to the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint which will be contested at five furlongs in November at Del Mar. 

Star of Mystery [post 6, Flavien Prat], a sophomore Kodiac filly, enters off a close second when facing males for the fourth-straight time – and elders in her last three outings – in the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint on March 30 at Meydan Racecourse in the United Arab Emirates. There, she traveled midpack after breaking a beat slow, gaining on the favored-California Spangle with each stride in the final 400 meters of the six-furlong straight but crossing the wire three-quarter-lengths back of the multiple Group 1-winning colt.  

The placing maintained a perfect on-the-board record this season, with closing wins in the Group 3 Blue Point Sprintand a six-furlong allowance in January at Meydan ahead of an additional second versus elders in the Group 3 Nad Al Sheba Turf Sprint in March there. 

“Star of Mystery, being out in Dubai, was a model of consistency. She just got touched off in the Al Quoz against older horses and I feel that the five and a half should suit her well at Saratoga in the Jaipur,” said Appleby. “Obviously, she has to gain some experience from it all in her first run in America.”

Last year, Star of Mystery graduated at second asking by an eye-catching 11 lengths in a June allowance at Haydock ahead of a win in the Maureen Brittain Memorial Empress at Newmarket and a second in the Group 2 Duchess Of Cambridge in the following two months, both six-furlongs over good turf at Newmarket. 

Out of the Shamardal mare Mistrusting, Star of Mystery is a half-sister to the Appleby-trained 2021 Grade 1 Just a Game and Grade 1 Diana winner Althiqa. 

Star of Mystery will look to follow in the footsteps of multiple Grade 1-winning millionaire mare Caravel, who beat the males in last year’s edition contested at six furlongs at Belmont Park.

Mischief Magic [post 12, William Buick], a 4-year-old Exceed and Excel gelding, enters from a pair of on-the-board efforts sprinting against Grade 2-company, finishing a close second in the Shakertown to returning rival Arzak on April 6 at Keeneland, ahead of a third in the Turf Sprint on May 4 at Churchill Downs. 

The 2022 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint-victor, whose other stakes win came in the Group 3 Sirenia as a juvenile at Kempton and the Dubai Sprint this February at Meydan, has breezed twice at Saratoga. Most recently, he covered a half-mile in 48.21 seconds Saturday over the Oklahoma turf, faster than Star of Mystery’s respective 48.61. 

“Mischief Magic worked very well, as did Star of Mystery, finishing up quickly. I’m very happy with how they went on the turf for the first time,” said Chris Connett, Appleby’s traveling assistant. “It was nice to get a chance to breeze them on the turf in the run-up to the race. They are more speedy types than the rest of ours, so they went through first with a little more zip and really showed their wellness.”

Out of the Elusive Quality mare Veil of Silence, Mischief Magic boasts a record of 15-6-1-3 with $857,302 in earnings, with an additional Group 3-placing in February’s Dukhan Sprint at Doha in Qatar. 

Sonata Stable’s last-out Grade 2 Shakertown-winner Arzak [post 2, Jaime Torres] will look to keep the ball rolling for trainer Michael Trombetta. The one-length score over the aforementioned Mischief Magic came in his first start since a sixth in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint in November at Santa Anita Park.

Before the Breeders’ Cup attempt, the 6-year-old Not This Time horse upset a Saratoga allowance in August and the Grade 2 Woodford at Keeneland in October. The chestnut seemed to return to his 4-year-old form, where he captured Woodbine Racetrack’s Grade 3 Jacques Cartier before placing in the Grade 2 Highlander. 

Reeves’ Thoroughbred Racing’s Big Invasion [post 5, Joel Rosario] closed his last campaign strong with a neck defeat in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint on the heels of a narrow victory in the six-furlong Grade 2 Nearctic in October at Woodbine. 

Trained by Christophe Clement, the Declaration of War horse has missed the board in his two appearances as a five-year-old, both over good turf, including a distant tenth last-out in the Grade 2 Turf Sprint on May 4 at Churchill Downs and the Listed Silks Run in March at Gulfstream Park. 

“The only reason he ran poorly is the ground. He has not been able to emulate his Breeders’ Cup performance due to factors outside of his control,” said Miguel Clement, the son and assistant of Christophe. “It is unfortunate since the horse himself is doing so great, he’s been doing great for months now.”

Big Invasion ran impressively over firm turf in last year’s Jaipur, coming from 11th-of-14 to finish second, a diminishing three-quarter-lengths back of Caravel. Likewise, his eight starts as a sophomore came over firm turf and he won six, including the Grade 3 Quick Call presented by Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation at the Spa. 

Clement won the Jaipur three years in a row from 2016-18, with Pure Sensation [2016] and Disco Partner [2017-18], to go along with his first triumph in the race with Right One [2011]. 

A contender who has traveled well over softer ground is Clark Brewster, William Heiligbrodt, and Corrine Heiligbrodt’s Cogburn [post 8, Irad Ortiz, Jr] for Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen. The Not This Time bay’s last-out victory in the Grade 2 Turf Sprint came over good turf on May 4 at Churchill Downs and his Grade 3 Troy triumph over eventual Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint-champ Nobals was over soft footing in July at Saratoga. 

Cogburn is 4-for-5 over the turf, only missing in the Grade 2 Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint in September when a close fifth, beaten three-quarter-lengths by Gear Jockey. 

Hall of Famer Mark Casse will be represented by multiple group/graded stakes-winning Brazilian-bred 8-year-old Filo Di Arianna [post 11, Tyler Gaffalione], and possibly the frontrunning 4-year-old Souper Quest [post AE16, John Velazquez], who is on the outside looking in as the last of four also-eligibles for the lucrative sprint capped at twelve starters. 

Filo Di Arianna, a veteran Drosselmeyer chestnut made a late run for second behind Cogburn in the Grade 2 Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs, a different style than he displayed when winning the Grade 2 King Edward and Connaught Cup in 2022 at Woodbine for owners Gary Barber, Wachtel Stable and Peter Deutsch. 

“He’s doing good. Both my horses in there complement each other. One is speed [Souper Quest] and the other comes from out of it,” said Casse. 

Live Oak Plantation’s Souper Quest, a 4-year-old Munnings bay with a 6-for-6 on-the-board record and three frontrunning wins, finished third versus elders in the Da Hoss won by Nobals in September at Colonial Downs. 

“He’s an extremely talented horse. His race last year at Colonial against the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner was pretty impressive as a 3-year-old facing elders,” said Casse. 

The first on the also-eligible list is Colts Necks Stables’ homebred Grooms All Bizness [post AE13, Jorge Ruiz], who took a liking to soft turf in victory of the Listed Jim McKay Turf Sprint on May 18 at Pimlico Race Course. 

“It seems like he’s run well on firm, but any give in the ground, yielding or soft, he seems to show up. He is pretty consistent, really,” Duarte, Jr. said. “We just need to hope he overcomes any traffic or anything that could happen, but he’s very versatile, so it is a good time to take a shot.”

Grooms All Bizness, next up should there be any scratches, is three for his last four including a win in Monmouth Park’s Get Serious last June. 

Rounding out the field are multiple graded stakes-placed Dancing Buck [post 3, Manny Franco] for trainer Michelle Nevin; graded-stakes placed Thin White Duke [post 1, Jose Ortiz] for conditioner Dave Donk; stakes-winners Coppola [post 4, Edgard Zayas] for trainer Dale Romans, No Nay Mets [post 7, Frankie Dettori] who adds blinkers for trainer Peter Gulyas and Sosua Summer [post 9, Luis Saez] for Hall of Famer Bill Mott; and stakes-placed Alogon for trainer Ned Allard [post 10, Junior Alvarado] 

Other also-eligibles include stakes-winner Outlaw Kid [post AE14, Javier Castellano] for Gulyas and dual stakes-placed American Monarch [post AE15, Jose Lezcano] for Bill Mott. 

The Jaipur is slated as Race 9 on Saturday’s lucrative 14-race Belmont Stakes Card, headlined by the Grade 1, $2 million Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets in Race 12. The card will also feature seven additional graded events in the Grade 1, $1 million Hill ‘n’ Dale Metropolitan Handicap in Race 10; the Grade 1, $1 million Resorts World Casino Manhattan in Race 11; the Grade 1, $500,000 Ogden Phipps presented by Ford in Race 7; the Grade 1, $500,000 Woody Stephens in Race 8; the Grade 2, $350,000 True North presented by F.W. Webb in Race 4; the Grade 2, $350,000 Suburban in Race 6; and the Grade 3, $350,000 Poker in Race 5. First post is 10:45 a.m. Eastern. 

America’s Day at the Races will present daily coverage and analysis of the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival at Saratoga Race Course on the networks of FOX Sports. For the complete broadcast schedule, visit

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