Fast-developing Travesura took the lead at the start and was never headed while shaking up the $100,000 Miesque Stakes (gr. IIIT) for 2-year-old fillies on the turf at odds of 11-1 Nov. 24 at Betfair Hollywood Park (VIDEO).
Ridden by Tyler Baze, Travesura spurted away from the pack in the stretch and held on gamely by a half-length at the wire as Irish import Pussycat Lips charged home gamely through traffic to get second. Flashy Ways finished third as 4-5 favorite Premier Steps never got involved and struggled home sixth in her United States debut for New York trainer Chad Brown. The final time for the one-mile test was 1:37.01 over firm ground.
Trained by Jeff Mullins for owner Val-U-Chem Inc., Travesura was facing winners for the first time in the Miesque following a 3 3/4-length tally over maiden special weight rivals on the hillside grass course going about 6 1/2 furlongs at Santa Anita Park Oct. 7.
"I wasn't really expecting to be on the lead. (But) if they let me go easy, I'm going to take it," said Baze, a well-known speed rider who returned from a a lengthy alcohol-related suspension earlier this year. "The plan was to lay third or fourth. I really thought she could route after her last race. I knew she would be tough to beat today. This is a nice filly. Bigger and better things, maybe."
Travesura took the lead out of the gate over Birdlover and a pulling Somethingabouther as Miss Empire stalked on the outside while producing quarter mile fractions of :24.61, :49.24, and 1:13.48. Given her head by Baze coming into the stretch, Travesura opened up by two lengths but had to dig in late while urged home by Baze as Pussycat Lips came on.
The latter filly had traffic issues throughout and was forced to wait off heels midstretch before shooting through an opening to the inside in deep stretch with an impressive late burst for Garrett Gomez. She was a neck ahead of Flashy Ways in third, with Bird Lover sticking around for fourth.
"I just couldn't get any kind of running room," Gomez complained afterward. "I wound her up but never was able to kick her into gear. I never hit her. She traveled well, she's a beautiful moving filly. She's not real big but covers a lot of ground."
Travesura paid $24.80, $8.40, and $6.40 for the win, her second in four starts. Pussycat Lips, an Irish maiden winner making her first start in the United States for trainer John Sadler and Hronis Racing, returned $10.20 and $5.60. The exacta was worth $138.80. Second choice Flashy Ways, 11th in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (gr. IT) Nov. 2, paid $3.40 to show while being hampered by her far outside draw.
The winner, a Limehouse filly out of the winless Tale of the Cat mare Tempestra, was bred in Kentucky by Moonshadow Ranch. The chestnut sold for $60,000 as a 2-year-old in training at the Ocala Breeders Sale Co. in April.
Travesura began her career on the Cushion Track at Hollywood June 28, finishing a well-beaten third behind dual grade I winner Executiveprivilege. She ran fifth in her next start on the Polytrack at Del Mar a month later before breaking through on the Santa Anita hillside. She has now won two in a row while earning $95,600.
"I started thinking about this race after her last race," Mullins said. "There really wasn't anything else for her. It was our only option. My only worry was the distance. I know she can run and I knew she'd like the grass, it just took forever to get her there."