Mizdirection, one of the stars of the 2012 Breeders' Cup with her surprising come-from-behind triumph over males in the Turf Sprint (gr. IT), returns to defend her title in the $150,000 Monrovia Stakes (gr. IIT) Jan. 6 at Santa Anita Park.
The 5-year-old daughter of Mizzen Mast is back on the hillside turf course where she posted a half-length victory over Unbridled's Note in the BC Turf Sprint Nov. 3. Trained by Mike Puype for sports radio personality Jim Rome's Jungle Racing and partners, Mizdirection is three-for-three over the about 6 1/2-furlong layout.
Eleventh in the field of 14 after a half-mile in the BC Sprint, Mizdirection rallied five wide into the lane to complete the race in a sizzling time of 1:11.39. The clocking was slightly off the course mark of 1:11.13 established by Lennyfrommalibu in 2004.
Mizdirection is the 123-pound highweight among a field of six older fillies and mares entered in the Monrovia. Mike Smith, who rode the gray/roan filly for the first time in the Breeders' Cup, has the return engagement. They break from the far outside post.
Mizdirection won last year's Monrovia, which was then a grade III race, in off-the-pace fashion by 1 3/4 lengths. The Kentucky-bred has not been out of the money in 12 career starts, compiling a 7-4-1 mark with earnings of $914,621. A victory in the Monrovia, in which she will be heavily favored, would push her over the $1 million mark.
The Monrovia is the eighth race on the Sunday program at Santa Anita with a 4:07 p.m. PST scheduled post.
One of her main rivals is Glen Hill Farm's Broken Dreams, winner of the Senator Ken Maddy Stakes (gr. IIIT) on the hillside Oct. 20. The 7-year-old mare won the Sen. Maddy in 2011 as well and has two wins and two seconds in four tries over the downhill course for trainer Tom Proctor.
Broken Dreams comes off a runner-up finish to Monrovia entrant Kindle in the six-furlong Cool Air Stakes on the turf at Betfair Hollywood Park Nov. 23. Garrett Gomez retains the mount on the chestnut daughter of Broken Vow and they will break just to the inside of Mizdirection.
Kindle ran second in the Sen. Maddy after opening up a 5 1/2-length advantage in her turf debut for trainer Gary Mandella and HnR Nothhaft Horse Racing. The 5-year-old Indian Charlie miss turned the tables on Broken Dreams at Hollywood with a front-running 2 3/4-length triumph in the Cool Air. Edwin Maldonado rides the likely pacesetter again.
Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners' Byrama was a close third in the Sen. Maddy after closing much ground as the favorite under Rafael Bejarano. The Great Britain-bred 4-year-old daughter of Byron won the Unzip Me Stakes while also favored over the course prior to that. Trainer Simon Callaghan has tabbed Bejarano once more.
French-bred Givine, fifth last time in the Cool Air, and Curvy Cat, making her graded stakes debut for Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, complete the field.
$150,000 Monrovia Stakes (gr. IIT, Race 8, 4:07 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 4 & Up, About 6 1/2 Furlongs (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Curvy Cat (CA), C S Nakatani, 118, J Hollendorfer
2. Byrama (GB), R Bejarano, 118, S Callaghan
3. Kindle (KY), E A Maldonado, 118, G Mandella
4. Givine (FR), T Baze, 118, J C Canani
5. Broken Dreams (FL), G K Gomez, 118, T F Proctor
6. Mizdirection (KY), M E Smith, 123, M Puype