ARCADIA , Calif. (Feb. 18, 2013)—Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint Champ Mizdirection, who came off a facile win in the Grade II Monrovia Stakes on Jan. 6 and who hadn’t run a mile since winning at Del Mar on Aug. 19, 2011, stretched out in style under Mike Smith Monday at Santa Anita, winning the Grade II $150,000 Buena Vista Stakes by 2 ¼ lengths in gate to wire fashion while running the final quarter mile in a scintillating 23.75—and getting the mile in 1:33.50.
Breaking from post position number two, Mizdirection was bumped sharply after the break, which resulted in the mare grabbing a quarter on her right front foot, which was visibly bleeding following the race.
“If anything good came out of it (bumping incident), she rated really well,” said Smith. “…She’s stronger, she’s bigger, and she’ll definitely get a mile. I thought if a horse was going to come to her she would have dug back in…I don’t know how much further we want to go than this, but she can certainly get a mile.”
Mizdirection, off as the solid 3-5 favorite in a field of eight, had a length and a half advantage on second choice, A Jealous Woman, around the Club House turn and carved out fractions of 23.78, 47.00, 1:10.25 and 1:21.80 while besting In the Stars and Gary Stevens for the win.
“Mike said he kind of got her to settle, and (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,” said winning trainer Mike Puype. “It’s a testament to how tough she is. She was training beautiful going into this race…She’s just a pleasure to have. She makes me look good.
“Let me tell you something. The filly chasing her is a good horse. I thought In the Stars was the horse to beat today. She came after (us) like she was going to make it a race, and Mike looked like he had a lot of horse. I’m very pleased.”
Owned by Jim Rome’s Jungle Racing LLC, William Strauss, Danny Grohs, Kevin Nish, Michael Kramek and Boris Beljak, Rome was one of the first to greet Smith and Mizdirection on the track as she returned to the winner’s circle.
“She likes to play, that’s a great way to put it,” said Sports Talk superstar Rome . “She’s so competitive. The way she dug in through the stretch was awesome. She’s amazing.”
Mizdirection, a 5-year-old mare by Mizzen Mast, registered her third consecutive win and her seventh in her last nine tries. With the winner’s share of $90,000, her earnings now total $1,094,621. Her overall record now stands at 14-9-4-1.
Co-owner Strauss, who along with his brother, Jeffrey, owns and operates The Pamplemousse Restaurant in Solana Beach , extended an open invitation to his eatery.
“Dinner’s on me tonight!! Just tell my brother to blame it on me!!”
Brazilian-bred In the Stars broke from the outside post and was rank with Stevens into and around the Club House turn, but Stevens got her into a contending position down the backside and loomed a threat at the rail, 1 ½ lengths off the lead, turning for home.
“Coming into the stretch I was wanting to get out and the way it turned out it didn’t matter much anyway,” said Stevens. “Once I found room and got out, (Mizdirection) just sprinted away from me. I would have liked it better if I could have been parked on the outside and engaged Mizdirection from, like the three-furlong pole, but it turned into a sprint and Mizdirection has a helluva turn of foot and flew away from me.”
Off at 6-1, In the Stars finished 1 ¼ lengths in front of Byrama and paid $4.40 and $3.40.
Byrama, ridden by Victor Espinoza, was off at 16-1 and paid $4.40.
California-bred A Jealous Woman, who came off a sharp win over the course in the Megahertz Stakes on Jan. 19, sat a stalking trip early, but was all done around the far turn and ended up a well-beaten seventh with Brice Blanc up. She was the second choice at 4-1.
Rome will be Peter Lurie and Becky Witzman’s special guest on HRTV’s “Across the Board” on Wednesday at 5 p.m., PST.
There is a Pick Six carryover of $113,777.31 into Thursday and it’s expected the total pool on Thursday will exceed $750,000.
First post time on Thursday is at 1 p.m. For more racing information, visit www.santaanita.com.