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Kentucky Derby Pedigree Profile: Maximus Mischief

By Kellie Reilly

Although Maximus Mischief stayed 1 1/8 miles to win the Remsen (G2), pedigree suggests that could be his maximum trip.

Bred by Martha Jane Mulholland in Kentucky, the $340,000 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic juvenile is a son of Into Mischief, a top sire but one whose progeny have distance limitations. Into Mischief scored his signature win in the 2007 CashCall Futurity (G1), missed the 2008 classics due to injury, returned triumphant in the seven-furlong Damascus S., and ended his career with a second in the Malibu (G1).

By Harlan’s Holiday and thus a scion of the Storm Cat line, Into Mischief received a boost early in his stud career by way of half-sister Beholder. That future Hall of Famer was bred on a similar cross, being by Henny Hughes. Beholder’s first Eclipse Award as champion two-year-old filly of 2012 coincided with Into Mischief’s stellar first crop, and her three ensuing championships put their dam, Leslie’s Lady, into blue hen territory. Leslie’s Lady has added to her historic stature by producing Mendelssohn, yet another representative of the Storm Cat cross as a son of Scat Daddy.

Into Mischief never tried a classic distance, so it’s debatable whether he could have won over 1 1/4 miles like Beholder or placed like Mendelssohn. In any event, whatever his half-siblings accomplished, Into Mischief can be judged only by his offspring. The record shows him as a high-class speed influence, as evidenced by his Canadian champions Miss Mischief and Conquest Enforcer, and especially by his Kentucky Derby (G1) results.

His first crop was highlighted by two-time Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) hero Goldencents and multiple Grade 2-winning millionaire Vyjack. Both had won preps to earn their way into the 2013 Derby, but trudged home far up the track, and later found their niche going shorter. Next came Vicar’s in Trouble, who had a similar experience in the 2014 Kentucky Derby, although his biggest career wins came in the Louisiana Derby (G2) and Super Derby (G2) at 1 1/8 miles.

Practical Joke, the 2016 Champagne (G1) winner, was a creditable fifth in the 2017 Derby but again excelled after cutting back to one turn that summer. Into Mischief had his best Kentucky Derby finish in 2018, when Florida Derby (G1) romper Audible rallied for third to Justify.

Maximus Mischief likely receives further speed from his dam, Reina Maria, a sprinter who won four of 28 competing in low-level claimers in Puerto Rico. He is her second registered foal, and first winner.

Reina Maria is a daughter of the speedy Songandaprayer, best remembered for setting a scorching pace in the 2001 Derby before retreating to 13th behind Monarchos. His leading runners were of a similar mold, such as Songster, and he factors as the broodmare sire of Danzing Candy, Sunny Ridge, and Take Charge Paula.

Maximus Mischief’s second dam, Maria’s Pride, was a four-time winner in sprints at Mountaineer. She had only three registered foals, all winners. Sadly, her last was ill-fated Secret Compass, the 2013 Chandelier (G1) victress who was fatally injured in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1).

For Maximus Mischief to stay further, he’ll have to reach back deeper into the maternal half of his pedigree. Maria’s Pride is by champion Maria’s Mon, sire of two Derby heroes in Monarchos and Super Saver (2010).

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