Photos courtesy Benoit & Associates.
Only one result ensues when Mizdirection runs on the turf course at Santa Anita Park—win, win, win. On Feb. 18 the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint (gr. IT) victress turned in a dominant gate-to-wire performance by 2 1/4 lengths over seven other fillies and mares in the $150,000 Buena Vista Stakes (gr. IIT).
The gritty 5-year-old daughter of Mizzen Mast is now seven-for-seven on the Santa Anita turf course and has won eight of her last nine races for trainer Mike Puype. She was never challenged in the one-mile Buena Vista and handled the added ground with definitive class coming off a 2013 season opener in the Jan. 6 Monrovia Stakes (gr. IIT), a 6 1/2-furlong sprint she also won in 2012 for Jungle Racing and partners.
Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith was in the irons aboard Mizdirection for her Buena Vista run; the racemare relaxed perfectly under his guidance on the front-end while clicking off opening fractions of :32.78 and :47.00.
"She's just a more mature horse this year and she ran a mile just as well as she did six and a half," Smith remarked. "So good for us, we have options now."
Mizdirection was trailed after three-quarters in 1:10.25 by Byrama and In the Stars, and headed into the stretch with the 1 1/2 length advantage she had maintained throughout. She finished up strongly under one crack of the left-handed whip and good handling. In the Stars made a strong run up the inside to best the rest, but could not catch the winner, who completed the distance in 1:33.50.
"She finished like if someone would have come to her on the outside or inside, she would have fought them off—she felt like that, anyways," Smith said.
Mizdirection, favored at 3-5, returned $3.20, $2.60, and $2.10 while In the Stars paid $4.60 and $3.40 followed by Byrama's $4.40 to show. Charm the Maker, Long Face, Trois Aureole, A Jealous Woman, and Byrony completed the order of finish.
It was a second time going a mile for Mizdirection, who won the $90,285 Sandy Blue Handicap at Del Mar at the same distance in 2011 for her first stakes score. The Buena Vista win improved her record to 9-4-1 from 14 starts, with earnings of $1,094,621.
"I felt OK with her on the lead," Puype said. "She was very good; nice and relaxed and very professional. We've got a lot of options right now."
The trainer said Mizdirection grabbed a quarter at the start of the race that would be treated back at the barn.
"(She) grabbed a pretty good-sized quarter off that foot, too, so we're going to have to go to work on that after the race," Puype said. "It's a testament to how tough she is. She's just a pleasure to have. She makes me look good.
"We have a lot of options as to what we're going to consider at this point. She shows up. How do you not look at her record and see 11 starts on turf, eight wins, three seconds, never missed the board in a start? She's the ultimate professional."
Mizdirection was bred in Kentucky by Joseph J. Perrotta out of the Clever Trick mare Deceptive. She was a 2009 Keeneland September yearling sale purchase for $85,000 by Litt Bloodstock when consigned by Four Star Sales, agent.
Bloodstock agent Alex Solis Jr. bought her for $50,000 in 2010 at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-year-olds in training sale when consigned by Casse Sales, agent.
The mare's connections will plot a campaign backwards from the Breeders' Cup World Championships to be held Nov. 1-2 at Santa Anita, Solis Jr. said.
For an Equibase chart, click here.
JIM ROME AND MIKE PUYPE CELEBRATE IN THE WINNER'S CIRCLE