Noted sports broadcaster Jim Rome, a convert to Thoroughbred racing in recent years and operator of Jungle Racing stable, celebrated his biggest win as an owner Saturday when Mizdirection, a filly he owns in partnership with Strauss, Grohs, Beljak and KMN Racing, turned in a spectacular stretch run to win the $909,000 Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint at Santa Anita.
Eleventh in the field of 14 with slightly more than a quarter-mile remaining, Mizdirection had to make a five-wide charge down the stretch to make up a near eight-length deficit, but did just that to edge lukewarm 9-2 favorite Unbridled's Note by a half-length. The final time for about 6 1/2 furlongs on firm ground was 1:11 1/5.
Backed to third favoritism at 6-1, Mizdirection paid $15.80, $7.40 and $5.
"Before the race, (trainer) Mike (Puype) told me, 'I don't care if you ride her around them. I don't care if you ride her inside them. I don't care if you ride her in front of them. I don't care if you ride her from behind -- just ride her the way you know you can,'" winning jockey Mike Smith said. "I was really glad he said that to me because it allowed me to ride her with confidence. When we came across the dirt, I had a lot ground to make up but I was really confident I could."
Unbridled's Note, who won the course-and-distance Grade 3 Eddie D on opening day of the Santa Anita fall meet, ran a strong race in defeat. Rated in mid-pack, the three-year-old gradually improved position while benefiting from a fast early pace, took a brief lead with a sixteenth to go and just failed to hold off the winner. He finished 1 1/4 lengths ahead of another three-year-old, the filly Reneesgotzip, who was making her turf debut.
The order of finish was rounded out by Great Mils, Great Attack, Corporate Jungle, Next Question, Tale of a Champion, Upgrade, Starspangledbanner, Camp Victory, Chosen Miracle, California Flag and Bridgetown. European invader Starspangledbanner was the surprising early leader, breaking on top from post 14 and setting splits of :21 and :42 1/5 down the hill before fading in the final furlong.
Mizdirection has hit the board in all of her stakes appearances, beginning with back-to-back seconds in the Manhattan Beach at Hollywood Park and the Grade 2 San Clemente Handicap at Del Mar in the summer of 2011. Victorious in the one-mile Sandy Blue Handicap at Del Mar in her next outing, she was next elevated from fourth to third in the Grade 2 Raven Run at Keeneland.
The four-year-old filly kicked off her 2012 campaign with three straight wins, taking the course-and-distance Grade 3 Monrovia and Clocker's Corner Handicap before triumphing over three rivals in the off-the-turf Las Cienegas Handicap. Mizdirection made her most recent start in the May 27 Great Lady M at Hollywood, where she was upset at 2-5 and settled for second. Her record now stands at 12-7-4-1, $914,621.
Bred in Kentucky by Joseph Perrotta, Mizdirection was produced by the Clever Trick mare Deceptive, who is also the dam of stakes winner Hurricane Bernie. This is the extended family of Grade 1 vixen Hooh Why and Grade 3 victor Jaded Dancer.
Mizdirection was a $50,000 two-year-old in training purchase at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic May sale.