Miesque Hope Has Confident Trainer

Miesque Hope Has Confident Trainer
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt
B. Wayne Hughes' filly Macellya has one victory and a very confident trainer in Xavier Nakkachdji.
Opportunities for surprises should be plentiful with five European contenders populating a full field of 2-year-old turf fillies for the $100,000 Miesque Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Hollywood Park Nov. 24. Not so, says Xavier Nakkachdji, French trainer for California owner B. Wayne Hughes who enters the lightly raced Macellya.

The French-bred daughter of Testa Rossa has just two starts — a maiden debut victory at Chantilly Aug. 31 and a third-place finish in a group III race contested on a yielding course at Saint-Cloud Oct. 13. Nakkachdji has a lot at stake.

“I’m planning to win,“ Nakkachdji said confidently of his chances in the one-mile Miesque. “If she wins, she goes back. If she loses, she stays here."

Speaking of Macellya's previous loss, he explained, “She got beat six lengths in heavy going and prefers firm ground.”

Jockey Brice Blanc completes the French connection for Hughes.

The other four recent European arrivals are Excitement from England with Ben Cecil, Royale Action from France with Richard Mandella, Sweeter Still from Ireland with Jeff Mullins, and Carnival Queen from England with Paddy Gallagher.

Sea Chanter, a daughter of War Chant trained by Todd Pletcher, will try to make it back-to-back stakes wins in the Miesque. The Stonerside Stable homebred won the Epitome Breeders' Cup Stakes on a yielding course at Monmouth Park on Oct. 26 and enters the Miesque with two wins in five tries and $198,277 in earnings. Mike Smith takes the call.

Set Play, winner of the Del Mar Debutante (gr. I) on Polytrack for trainer Peter Miller in September, will test turf for the first time. The Florida-bred daughter of Van Nistelrooy finished 11th on a sloppy track in the Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) at Monmouth last month. She enters with two wins, a second and a third in six starts for a race-high $220,920 in earnings.

La Mina, winner of Oak Tree's Hidden Lite Stakes on Oct. 26, is unbeaten in her two grass starts. She began her career with five consecutive losses on synthetic and dirt tracks.

"She's doing great," said trainer Mike Mitchell of the Mineshaft   filly, who drew the rail in the 12-horse field. "I thought she would like the grass. It was not so much about the pedigree, but she appeared to be intimidated when dirt hit her in the face."

The field also  includes California Cup Juvenile Fillies Stakes winner Runforthemoneybaby, who is trained by Mullins.

$100,000 Miesque Stakes (gr. IIIT, Race 5, 2:32 p.m.), 2-Year-Old Fillies, 1 Mile (Turf)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. La Mina (KY), 119, Michael C. Baze
2. Miss Versatile (IRE), 115, Patrick A. Valenzuela
3. Excitement (IRE), 117, Victor Espinoza
4. Royale Action (FR), 117, Alex O. Solis
5. Golden Doc A (CA), 117, Martin A. Pedroza
6. Bathed in Blue (KY), 117, Aaron T. Gryder
7. Set Play (FL), 117, Corey S. Nakatani
8. Macellya (FR), 117, Brice Blanc
9. Sea Chanter (KY), 122, Mike E. Smith
10. Runforthemoneybaby (CA), 122, Tyler Baze
11. Sweeter Still (IRE), 115, Martin Garcia
12. Carnival Queen (GB), 117, David R. Flores

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