Frequent traveler Duke of Mischief outfought Kiss the Kid and favored Mambo Meister to win the off-the-turf $100,000 Ft. Lauderdale Stakes by a neck at Gulfstream Park Jan. 10 (VIDEO).
The victory by 4-year-old Duke of Mischief is his sixth consecutive start at different racetracks for trainer and part owner David Fawkes. He was a five-length winner of the Iowa Derby in June at odds of 13-1.
With Eibar Coa aboard, Duke of Mischief circled the field on the far turn and overtook Kiss the Kid and Mambo Meister on the outside in deep stretch to register his fourth career win in 10 races.
The Florida-bred son of Graeme Hall --My Lady Amelia (by Real Courage) was timed in 1:37.70 for the one-mile test over a track rated "good."
The Fort Lauderdale, originally a grade III at 1 1/16 miles, loses its graded status due to the surface switch, pending a final decision by the American Graded Stakes Committee. The original field of 14 was reduced to eight by scratches.
Duke of Mischief raced in sixth as Wheels Up At Noon, Mambo Meister, and Kiss the Kid vied for the lead through fractions of :25, :48.97 and 1:13.26. Duke of Mischief advanced four wide on the turn as 2-1 choice Mambo Meister and Manoel Cruz took the lead and showed the way into the stretch.
Kiss the Kid, in green blinkers with Eddie Castro aboard, challenged to get the lead from between horses over a stubborn Mambo Meister and Duke of Mischief, who was closing strongly from the outside. Duke of Mischief, under pressure from Coa, engaged Kiss the Kid and gradually wore down his rival in the drive to the wire. Kiss the Kid edged Mambo Meister by three-quarters of a length for second.
Duke of Mischief's most recent start came on dirt, a seventh-place effort in the Oklahoma Derby Oct. 11 at Remington Park. He had been working at Calder for his return. Duke of Mischief broke his maiden for an $80,000 tag on the Gulfstream turf last February but had not raced on grass since an off-the-board finish in a stakes at Calder May 17 over a yielding course.
Owned by Fawkes in partnership with Alex and Joann Lieblong and the colt's breeder, Marilyn McMaster, Duke of Mischief earned $60,000 to boost his career bankroll to $373,925.
Sent off as the fifth choice, Duke of Mischief carried 122 pounds and paid $13.80, $6.80, and $4.20. Kiss the Kid, the 124-pound high weight, returned $5.40 and $3.60 while rounding out a $70.40 exacta. Mambo Meister, in his first race since a fifth-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (gr. I), paid $2.60 to show.
It was one length back to Dry Martini in fourth. He was followed by Vacation, Wingedlie, Wheels Up, and Sam P. Scratched were Yate's Black Cat, Jet Propulsion, Star Plus, Danak, Society's Chairman, Bittel Road, and Valtrus.