Frontrunning Mia Mischief held off a stretch challenge from Talk Veuve to Me and powered home to a 1 3/4-length victory in the $200,000 Eight Belles Stakes (G2) May 4 at Churchill Downs, the first of six graded stakes on the Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1) card.
Owned by Bill and Corinne Heiligbrodt, Heider Family Stables, and Madaket Stables, Mia Mischief picked up her second straight stakes victory and first graded score in the Eight Belles. She completed the seven-furlong test in 1:21.84 to top six other 3-year-old fillies. The daughter of Into Mischief has finished first or second in all seven of her starts.
"This filly has been good from the start," Bill Heiligbrodt said. "She's a very aggressive filly—very fast. It's hard to slow them down to win these races. Thank God I have guys who wear Wranglers training my horses. They know how to do it. A fast one is what you have to have. It takes a super-fast horse to win these races."
Entered Friday off an 8 1/4-length romp in the Purple Martin Stakes March 24 at Oaklawn Park, Mia Mischief initially disputed the early lead with Talk Veuve to Me while racing off the rail before she forged a half-length lead through a quarter-mile in :22.21. Amy's Challenge took up the challenge entering the turn, as Mia Mischief held the lead by a head through a half-mile in :44.21.
Mia Mischief put that two-time stakes winner away as she opened a clear advantage entering the stretch. Team Valor International, Rudolphe Brisset, and Stephen McKay's Talk Veuve to Me began to mount a rally in mid-stretch, but Mia Mischief held sway under jockey Ricardo Santana Jr.
"Today she tried so hard," said Santana, who noted the effort of trainer Steve Asmussen to have her ready. "It was a very nice field of horses and she was very impressive. It's very special to have my family here with me on this weekend as well."
Favored Mia Mischief returned $5, $3, and $2.20 across the board. Talk Veuve to Me, ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan, returned $4.20 and $3.40 and finished 4 3/4 lengths in front of Gas Station Sushi, who paid $3 to show under Corey Nakatani.
In the Purple Martin, Mia Mischief settled in fourth early and rallied, but Friday she seized the lead early.
"I think the crowd had a little to do with it," Asmussen said. "She's a big, strong mare and we noticed it when she walked in the paddock. She was definitely on her toes."
Asmussen said her next major goal will be the Test Stakes (G1) at Saratoga Race Course, as he anticipates keeping her at sprint distances.
Consigned by McKathan Bros. to last year's Fasig-Tipton Florida select 2-year-olds in training sale, the Heiligbrodts purchased Mia Mischief for $300,000. Bred in Kentucky by Spendthrift Farm, Mia Mischief is out of winner Greer Lynn (by Speightstown ), who has produced three other winners.
Asmussen said when he was inducted into the Hall of Fame he had his office manager research some statistics on the Heiligbrodts.
"I'd won more than a thousand races for them. When I looked at that I thought, 'Is that even possible?' That's how much they've meant to me," Asmussen said. "Then to have a big, attractive, fast filly for them ... the history of it; it means a great deal."
The Heiligbrodts also won the Eight Belles with Asmussen trainee Four Gifts in 2009, the first year the race's name was changed from the La Troienne Stakes to the Eight Belles.