Trainer Steve Asmussen hopes that Mia Mischief can put a disappointing previous experience at Keeneland behind her in Saturday’s $250,000 Madison Stakes.
The five-year-old Into Mischief mare faces Guarana, Bell’s The One and six other rivals in the 7f Grade 1 dirt contest.
Ricardo Santana Jr will be on board Mia Mischief at the Lexington Oval, where she has mixed previous experiences.
As a juvenile she broke her maiden on her second start at Keeneland but, last season, she was only third behind Spiced Perfection in the Grade 2 Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes.
Asmussen feel she is well and isn’t concerned about that previous run at the track.
“She did break her maiden (at Keeneland) on a wet track and ran extremely well,” he said. “I was a bit disappointed in her TCA race here last year, but she’s training really well and she’s in a very good rhythm.”
After her disappointment at Keeneland, Mia Mischief closed out 2019 with a win in the Dream Supreme Stakes at Churchill Downs and returned early in 2020 in good form, winning an allowance optional claiming race in mid-March and adding the Carousel Stakes at Oaklawn Park in late April.
She is set to line up in the Madison off a third-place effort in the Grade 3 Winning Colors Stakes at Churchill Downs in May.
Mia Mischief has already pocketed $1.22 million in a 22-race career. Her 2019 stakes wins came in the seven-furlong Humana Distaff, the Roxelana Stakes and the Dream Supreme Stakes, all at Churchill Downs.
The Chad Brown-trained Guarana is set to be an even-money favourite on the morning line after closing her 2019 campaign with a Grade 1 success in the Cotillion Stakes. Brown feels she has a preference for one-turn races and is setting to campaign her as such this season.
She’s a formidable opponent for Mia Mischief but Asmussen isn’t in any mood to shirk the challenge and he feels the combination of post position (seven) and race length will help his mare at Keeneland.
“She’s doing really well. She’s a very accomplished mare being a Grade 1 winner,” he added. “She’s 2-for-3 this year and seven-eighths of a mile suits her.
“It’s a very competitive field and post 7 of 9 draw for her is an excellent spot. Hopefully she does well. She needs to break cleanly and be in control of where she’s at in the race. She’s a big older mare that knows what she wants to do and we want her to be comfortable and happy.”
Steve Asmussen is one of the most well-known Kentucky Derby Trainers.