First-Crop Sires: Maximus Mischief takes the early lead

August 18th, 2023 will follow prominent first-crop sires whose two-year-olds are hitting the track this season. This installment is the first on 2018 Remsen (G2) winner Maximus Mischief.

Maximus Mischief showed talent during his brief racing career. Now he’s back in the headlines thanks to a promising first crop of foals.

No first-crop sire of 2023 has gotten off to a hotter start than Maximus Mischief, who boasts 107 named foals. They’re already striking against stakes competition and may have upside for continued success the year goes on.

Promising but brief racing career

A son of four-time leading North American sire Into Mischief, Maximus Mischief was produced by the Songandaprayer mare Reina Maria, who compiled a 4-for-28 lifetime racing record while competing almost exclusively in claiming company.

Maximus Mischief went through the auction ring no fewer than four times before he reached the races. Twice, he failed to meet his reserve, but as a two-year-old in 2018, he was purchased for $340,000 by Charles J. Zacney and wound up racing for the partnership of Cash is King and LC Racing.

Under the tutelage of trainer Robert Reid Jr., Maximus Mischief debuted in a 5 1/2-furlong maiden special weight on Sept. 29, 2018, and led all the way to easily beat six rivals by 8 3/4 lengths. He was every bit as dominant in a seven-furlong allowance over the same track three weeks later, winning by six lengths even though he bore out and fought his jockey in the early stages.

Stepping up in class and distance for the 1 1/8-mile Remsen (G2) 1 at Aqueduct proved to be no obstacle for Maximus Mischief, who vied for command through slow fractions before finishing fast to win by 2 1/4 lengths. He ended his juvenile season with a 3-for-3 record and ranked among the early favorites for the 2019 Kentucky Derby (G1), but his lone start at age three yielded a surprising third-place finish in the Holy Bull (G2). Maximus Mischief was retired with a soft tissue injury in April 2019, and as of 2023 he stands at Spendthrift Farm for a fee of $7,500.

A hot start at stud

The early maturity Maximus Mischief displayed in his own racing career offered promise for success as a stallion. Into Mischief is a leading sire of two-year-olds, and Maximus Mischief figured to trend in a similar direction.

But Maximus Mischief is arguably exceeding expectations so far. As of this writing, he ranks as North America’s leading first-crop sire in terms of progeny earnings. A dozen of his 36 starters have visited the winner’s circle (more than any other 2023 first-crop sire), and he picked up his first stakes winner last Sunday when Let Them Watch posted a convincing victory in the $65,000 Sharp Susan S. at Gulfstream Park. Let Them Watch romped by 2 3/4 lengths and had previously won her debut at Gulfstream by 6 1/4 lengths, so the Florida-bred bay filly is now undefeated in two starts.

Also on Sunday, Raging Torrent recorded a third-place finish in the six-furlong Best Pal (G3) at Del Mar, becoming the first Maximus Mischief to win or place at the graded stakes level. The Best Pal was a fast race on paper, and Raging Torrent exited a comfortable debut victory against maiden special weight competition at Del Mar, suggesting the bay colt has both talent and upside.

Carmelina is another Maximus Mischief making noise from an early age. Just like her sire, she’s trained by Robert Reid Jr. and owned by Cash is King and LC Racing. Carmelina wasn’t quite up to winning at the graded stakes level in the Schuylerville (G3) at Saratoga, finishing fifth, but she sandwiched that defeat between a 5 3/4-length romp in a Parx maiden special weight and a half-length triumph in the restricted $100,000 Keswick S. at Colonial Downs.

We also have to highlight Cheeky Gal, who came out on the winning end of a race-long duel in a six-furlong maiden special weight at Del Mar. The bay filly prevailed by half a length and could be bound for a stakes in the near future.

The same can be said of Castille. Conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen, Castille debuted in a 5 1/2-furlong maiden special weight at Horseshoe Indianapolis and rallied from three lengths back to win by three lengths, a much-the-best performance suggesting he’s ready to step up in class.