Mischief Joke splashes to Rego Park win

Sunday, January 28th, 2024

Mischief Joke gives trainer Mike Maker a stakes double Sunday at Aqueduct in the Rego Park. Susie Raisher/NYRA Photo.

A return to more aggressive tactics early in the race paved the way for Mischief Joke to land his first stakes victory in Sunday’s $97,000 Rego Park at Aqueduct.

Fifth and third in his prior two stakes tries after a more forward maiden-breaking victory in September during the Belmont at the Big A meeting, Mischief Joke took command early and rolled to a 1-length victory in the rescheduled Rego Park under Dylan Davis. The 3-year-old son of Practical Joke made quick work of his four rivals in the Rego Park, originally scheduled for January 21 but run a week later after frigid weather canceled racing in New York last weekend.

Davis rode Mischief Joke last time out, a close runner-up finish in an allowance-optional December 15 at Aqueduct, and learned about the colt.

“Last time, I broke him well and once I got him to the outside he kept running – so he was more of a steady moving type,” Davis said. “Today, I just wanted to break well so he could get into his stride. After that, I found myself on the lead which I was happy with. I would have taken second or third.”

Mischief Joke, the 9-5 second choice in the field of five, wound up on the lead after Trevor McCarthy and Detective Tom conceded the early advantage over the sloppy and sealed track.

Mischief Joke led Detective Tom by a length through the opening quarter-mile in :23.47 with 4-5 favorite Antonio of Venice another length back in third. The top three stayed in those positions through the half in :47.54

Davis kept Mischief Joke well off the rail turning for home and they spurted away to a 2 1/2-length lead in midstretch.

“Turning for home, I just wanted to get his stride going because I knew I had a lot of horse to finish up with based off his last effort,” Davis said.

Mischief Joke held sway in the lane, despite drifting out, as Antonio of Venice rallied for the place spot. Detective Tom finished 5 lengths back in third, with the filly Thirteen Red Flags and Always a Warrior completing the field. The final time was 1:19.76.

“It looked like [Antonio of Venice] didn’t have the best of breaks and [Detective Tom] was struggling a little bit there a sixteenth after the gate,” Davis said. “After that, he [Mischief Joke] just took control. He got happy up there and I punched him a little early before they could get to him and he kept on going.”

Owned by Paradise Farms Corp., Parkland Thoroughbreds, Barry Fowler and Angelo Carlesimo, Mischief Joke gave trainer Mike Maker a stakes double on the card. Maker sent out Buck Butler’s homebred Rotknee to victory in the $100,000 Say Florida Sandy Sunday at the Big A.

Mischief Joke improved to 2-for-10 with seven placings and earnings of $204,595 with the Rego Park victory.

Bred by Pine Ridge Stables LTD and foaled at Waldorf Farm in North Chatham, Mischief Joke is out of the unraced Distorted Humor mare Shesabitdistorted.

Shesabitdistorted is a full sister to graded stakes winner and Grade 1-placed Sharp Humor, champion New York-bred 2-year-old male in 2005 and champion New York-bred 3-year-old male in 2006. She’s the dam of six winners including the Rego Park winner. That group includes the New York-bred It’s Mo Joke.

Mischief Joke sold for $6,500 to Erick Torres as a short yearling at the 2022 Keeneland January horses of all ages sale. He started his career in Kentucky for Torres and owner Twin Oaks LLC, finishing second in a 4 1/2-furlong maiden race at Keeneland Race Course, before being purchased privately by his current connections.

After finishing second in three straight maiden races in June, July and August on the NYRA circuit, Mischief Joke was offered but not sold on a bid of $150,000 during the Fasig-Tipton August digital sale. He won about a month later, winning a 6 1/2-furlong maiden by 4 1/4 lengths after never being more than a half-length behind.

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