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Afleet Alex Owners Renew Kentucky Derby Chances With Mischievous Alex

Mischievous Alex, Gotham Stakes winner and Kentucky Derby contender
Mischievous Alex by Gwen Davis/Davis Innovation. Thoroughbred News Service.

The list of Into Mischief colts and fillies headed to the Kentucky Derby or Kentucky Oaks seems to get longer everyday. Among them is a colt by the name of Mischievous Alex.

Mischievous Alex was born on February 28, 2017 to a mare named White Pants Night. Though White Pants Night wasn’t outstanding on the racetrack, she was a winner and is a half-sister to a trio of stakes winners. WinStar Farm knew she had a lot of potential as broodmare, so they paired the daughter of Speightstown with Into Mischief.

Eisaman Equine purchased the young colt that resulted from the White Pants Night and Into Mischief pairing for just $75,000 at the 2018 Keeneland September Yearling Sale and put him into training in Florida. He was resold the following year at the OBS April Two-Year Olds in Training Sale, purchased for $140,000 by Chris Zacney.

Zacney first got into horse racing with a $75,000 purchase that he would name Afleet Alex. Afleet Alex won the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes in 2005. Afleet Alex, like Mischievous Alex, was named after Zacney’s son. It quickly became clear that Mischievous Alex might have another thing in common with Afleet Alex: a chance at winning the Kentucky Derby.

The Into Mischief colt blossomed with his new trainer John Servis and new owners Cash is King Racing and LC Racing. He broke his maiden on June 25, 2019 at Parx. He then shipped to Laurel Park where he would fall just short of victory in an Allowance Optional Claimer.

Mischievous Alex’s connections believed that they had a good horse in their hands, so they stepped him up into stakes company for the Sapling Stakes at Monmouth Park. It looked like Mischievous Alex was going to win his stakes debut when he got to the top of the stretch and began to pull away from the other frontrunners, but the colt couldn’t hold off two fast-closing horses and wound up finishing a trying third.

The colt was entered into the Laurel Futurity twenty-days later, which would be the colt’s first try on turf. Mischievous Alex finished seventh, listed as “no factor”.

Trainer John Servis wanted one more race from Mischievous Alex before letting him rest until his three-year old debut, but knew that something was going to have to change. He opted to put blinkers on the colt, which made all the difference in the world in the Parx Juvenile Stakes; Mischievous Alex bested the field by 9 ¾ lengths!

Mischievous Alex, Afleet Alex, Kentucky Derby contender
Mischievous Alex races for same owners as Afleet Alex. Gwen Davis/Davis Innovation

It was then that Cash Is King Racing and John Servis knew that they had a potential star on their hands. They gave him three months off the races before returning the now three-year old Mischievous Alex in the Swale Stakes (G3). Mischievous Alex again rewarded his connections’ decision to put blinkers on him handsomely with a 7 length wire to wire romp.

"I think the blinkers made all the difference in the world," John Servis said to BloodHorse. "He's paying attention more and focusing. If you throw out the turf race, which we did to see what he might do on it, he could have been undefeated if we had used them from the beginning. He was immature but has really developed since we put them on."

After his two easy romps, Mischievous Alex’s connections decided to run him in the Gotham Stakes (G3) in hopes of capturing some Kentucky Derby points. The son of Into Mischief was understandably the heavy favorite. This time jockey Kendrick Camouche decided not to go wire-to-wire, settling just behind the pacesetters. Mischievous Alex was at the throats of the pacesetters throughout the entire race, finally poking his nose in front as they went around the far turn.

Mischievous Alex and Camouche easily ran away from their competition in the Gotham Stakes, earning themselves 50 points towards the Kentucky Derby.

The colt’s connections are still unsure whether or not their horse will perform as well around two turns, but will likely be trying him out in the Wood Memorial (G2) on April 4th. A good performance there would ensure Mischievous Alex a slot in the starting gates for the Kentucky Derby, making him trainer John Servis’ first Kentucky Derby contender since he won the race with Smarty Jones in 2004.

Mischievous Alex has been taken on a much different path than the Zacney's previous Kentucky Derby contender Afleet Alex was, but he is headed towards the same destination nonetheless. He will have to beat many good horses, but perhaps Mischievous Alex can end up with a blanket of roses upon his back.

[Video: Watch Mischievous Alex win the Gotham Stakes (G3)]


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