Mizdirection takes control late to win the Las Cienegas Handicap.

Mizdirection takes control late to win the Las Cienegas Handicap.

Benoit Photo

Mizdirection Goes Right Way in Las Cienegas

Filly wears down three rivals in off-the-turf event at Santa Anita April 14.

There wasn't much left to the $98,000 Las Cienegas Handicap after the race was moved off the Santa Anita Park turf to the main track and main rival Unzip Me was scratched. But Mizdirection made the best of it, winning over three rivals as the 3-10 favorite April 14 (VIDEO).

The 4-year-old filly, co-owned by noted sports commentator Jim Rome's Jungle Racing, earned her fourth straight victory.

The race had to be moved off the hillside turf course after Santa Anita Park was pounded by more than an inch of rain the day before. Originally a grade III event at 6 1/2 furlongs, it loses its graded status pending a final review from the American Graded Stakes Committee.

Mizdirection, racing on dirt for the second time in her career, responded with a half-length victory over Teroda while timed in 1:16.50 over a a track rated fast with David Flores in the irons. Her previous five victories had been achieved on grass, including the Monrovia Stakes (gr. IIIT), which she won in impressive fashion over Unzip Me on the hillside in January.

Mike Puype trains the gray daughter of Mizzen Mast  for a partnership that also includes Danny Grohs and William Strauss.

Mizdirection broke alertly, but Flores took her back to eventually settle behind the other three runners down the backside. Teroda won the duel for the early lead as the field raced through fractions of :22.28 and :45.45. Flores turned the winner loose rounding the far turn and she steadily wore down Teroda, ridden by Martin Garcia, in the late stages. La Nez finished third, 3 1/2 lengths behind Teroda and a head in front of Saanneen.

“I had confidence today,” said Flores, “but I was expecting her to have the same turn of foot that she does on grass, and it was not like that. The dirt is getting heavier, so it was a bit tiring.

“When I moved outside, I had her chase the leader,” Flores continued. “She accelerated slowly, but she got on it. After the wire, she was very happy. It’s good to ride a horse like this. She showed her class today.”

The win brought Mizdirection’s overall record to 6-3-1 in 10 starts. The winning purse of $60,000 increased her career earnings to $360,111.

“She quite obviously is not the same horse on the dirt, but it didn’t matter,” Puype said. “That’s why we ran today, with the horses we were running with. We got the job done, and that’s all that counts. She’ll be back on the turf for her next race. I have no specific race in mind. A win’s a win, and we’ll take it.”

Bred in Kentucky by Joseph Perrotta out of the Clever Trick mare Deceptive, the filly was purchased at auction for $50,000 in May 2010.

Mizdirection paid $2.60 and $2.10. Teroda paid $2.40 to place. There was no show wagering.

Also scratched was Broken Dreams.