‘Queen of the barn’ Make Mischief wins Critical Eye

Monday, May 30th, 2022

Make Mischief (pink colors) cuts the corner en route to victory in Monday’s Critical Eye at Belmont. Dom Napolitano/NYRA Photo.

By Paul Halloran

They say people judge you by the company you keep and you will get no argument from the connections of Make Mischief, who is extremely difficult to beat when she runs with fellow New York-breds.

The 4-year-old daughter of Into Mischief out of the Speightstown mare Speightful Lady made it four wins in seven starts against state-breds when she rolled to an easy 4-length win in the Critical Eye Stakes on Big Apple Showcase Day Monday at Belmont Park.

Make Mischief, owned by Gary Barber and trained by Mark Casse, sat off the pace set by Mashnee Girl through fractions of :23.26 and :46.40, took the lead at the quarter pole and was never threatened in the stretch, covering the mile in 1:35.71 as the 8-5 second choice. Bank Sting, who has been similarly dominant in the New York-bred ranks and was sent off as the favorite, was the best of the rest but a well-beaten second.

“I’m glad the weather was good today. [Last time] she didn’t care for the racetrack, but today I felt like she was going to run well,” said Shane Tripp, assistant to winning trainer Mark Casse. “She shows up every day and is so honest. She’s a real blessing to be around.”

Neither Make Mischief nor Bank Sting threatened in the Grade 2 Ruffian, won by Search Results, but they figured to be formidable in the Critical Eye and that’s exactly how it played out. Davis has ridden both horses recently and made the right choice Monday.

“I can only ride one and I liked them both,” Davis said. “They’re both nice fillies. I just liked the way Make Mischief was doing. Today, she broke well. I loved the post position and even the dry track helped her. Last time, she had that sealed track and had all that dirt in her face. She was never comfortable. Today, she was in a great spot. She was really keen for me down the backstretch, just trying to settle her down. She responded nicely, continued to gallop out and she was having fun out there.”

Bred by Mario and Dawn Martinez’s Avanti Stable and foaled at Song Hill Thoroughbreds in Mechanicville, Make Mischief sold for $285,000 to Flamingo Bloodstock at the Fasig-Tipton 2019 New York-bred sale in Saratoga.

“I’m sorry I sold her,” Martinez said Monday. “She’s the last one we sold. We are now breeding to race.”

Make Mischief is one five winners out of Speightful Lady, who was purchased in foal to Uncle Mo by Martinez for $75,000 at the 2013 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky winter mixed sale.

Speightful Lady delivered her first foal a few weeks later, the Uncle Mo colt later gelded and named Motown Rhythm. He was her first winner, along with $220,450-earner Speightful Kitten, the $250,000 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select yearling Jody’s Song and the $115,000 Saratoga select yearling Crescent Lady. Speightful Lady is also the dam of an unraced 2-year-old filly by Union Rags named Speightful Lily. This year, she delivered a foal by Goldencents and she is currently in foal to Mendelssohn, Martinez said.

After winning her debut at Belmont June 18, 2020, Make Mischief ran second in the Grade 3 Schuylerville, Grade 2 Adirondack and Seeking the Ante for New York-breds, before shipping to Santa Anita Park and running last in the Grade 2 Chandelier.

Moved to Chris Englehart’s barn for her first four starts of 2021, Make Mischief won three times, twice in the state-bred ranks. When Casse got her back, he returned her to open company and she responded with consecutive third-place finishes in the Grade 2 Eight Belles and Grace 1 Acorn. She was off the board in the Grade 2 Mother Goose and Grade 1 Test, was beaten a neck in the Fleet Indian and placed third in the Empire Distaff Handicap, finishing the year with $327,600 in earnings.

She began her 2022 campaign with a romp in an allowance-optional at Aqueduct before the Ruffian try.

“We love her and she’s the queen of the barn.” Tripp said. “You can tell when she gets really angry, she’s going to run big. She gets her way all the time and I felt she was going to give a big performance today.”

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