After Mischevious Alex’s dominant effort Feb. 1 in Gulfstream Park’s Swale Stakes (G3), trainer John Servis identified Aqueduct’s Grade 3, US$300,000 Gotham Stakes as a race that would fit the speedy colt “really well.”
The 3-year-old proved his trainer right Saturday when taking the Gotham by 2 ½ lengths and earning 50 points toward starting in the 2020 Kentucky Derby.
Mischevious Alex went post-ward in the Gotham as the 8-5 favorite coming off the Swale, in which he scored by seven lengths in a seven-furlong sprint. The extra furlong didn’t bother the son of Into Mischief on Saturday as he made the stakes his third straight victory.
War Stopper went to the front early, running the first quarter-mile in :23.54. Mischevious Alex moved in front entering the turn under jockey Kendrick Carmouche to make the half-mile in :47.26.
Attachment Rate and Necker Island drew within striking distance to Mischevious Alex’s outside entering the stretch. Neither of them could mount a real challenge to the favorite, though, and he rolled on to victory, covering the mile in 1:38.80.
Untitled was second and Attachment Rate third behind Mischevious Alex, who returned $5.50. Cash is King, LLC and LC Racing campaign the Kentucky-bred winner.
“John pretty much told me this horse can do anything,” Carmouche said. “He sits pretty good or can go to the lead. He told me the horse is a rocket out the gate, so the best thing that I can do is to take advantage.
“He left out of there running and I didn’t want to panic. I wasn’t in a rush. I thought I had the best horse in the race, so I wasn’t in a hurry. I knew Mark Casse’s horse (Untitled) was right there shipping in from Tampa. He just ran a tough race out there, so that had to take a little bit of something out of him. I was pretty confident in my horse and John. He just told me to ride the way I feel and win the race.”
Mischevious Alex’s win drew that colt alongside Modernist and King Guillermo – shocking upset winner of Saturday’s Tampa Bay Derby (G2) – for third place in the Road to the 2020 Kentucky Derby point standings. Those three all have 50 points each, while Authentic (60) and Ete Indien (54) lead the table.
The final stop on New York’s Derby trail is the $750,000 Wood Memorial (G2), taking place April 4. That Aqueduct staple pays its winner 100 points toward the Kentucky Derby starting gates – though Mischevious Alex’s 50 are probably already plenty to gain entry.
“We’ll discuss it,” Servis said of the Wood Memorial, “but as long as he comes out of (the Gotham) well, I think it’s worth taking a shot.”