Monday’s Gun Runner S. and Untapable S. at Fair Grounds – respectively on the Road to the Kentucky Derby and Oaks – served as rebound spots for juveniles coming off graded stakes losses at Churchill Downs.
Gun Runner S.
Jace’s Road, a too-bad-to-be-true eighth in a sloppy Street Sense (G3), put himself right back into the Derby picture with a front-running conquest of the Gun Runner. The Brad Cox juvenile was harkening back to his 6 1/4-length debut rout Aug. 6 at Ellis Park. His only other outing was a useful third to Curly Jack in his first stakes and two-turn try in the Sept. 17 Iroquois (G3), and he built upon that early promise here.
The 2.40-1 second choice, Jace’s Road broke smoothly while 9-10 favorite Determinedly wasn’t away cleanly. Although Determinedly righted the ship to take up a pace-pressing position, Jace’s Road had already assumed control that he wouldn’t relinquish. The Quality Road colt dictated splits of :24.46, :48.18, and 1:12.54, repelled Determinedly who tried to challenge, and opened up by 5 1/2 lengths with Florent Geroux.
Jace’s Road was handing the Cox/Geroux tandem their third stakes win on the program. Stablemates Corona Bolt and Dazzling Blue stayed perfect in the pair of two-year-old sprint stakes.
Adding 10 Derby points on Monday to his three from the Iroquois, Jace’s Road has a total of 13. Raise Cain rallied for second, heading Determinedly at the wire, to open his account with four points. Determinedly earned three points in third.
Hayes Strike checked in an even fourth, picking up two points to increase his total to seven. Andthewinneris, who churned for one point as the fifth-placer, reiterated the idea that his preferred surface is turf. Early stalker Old Alliance retreated to sixth, and Mazing Mark trailed throughout.
Jace’s Road advanced his resume to 4-2-0-1, $126,800, for West Point Thoroughbreds and Albaugh Family Stables. A $510,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase, the bay colt was bred in Kentucky by Colts Neck Stables. His dam, the stakes-placed Silver Deputy mare Out Post, is related to Hall of Famer Silverbulletday.
Godolphin’s homebred Pretty Mischievous, third to unbeaten Hoosier Philly in the Nov. 26 Golden Rod (G2) last out, moved forward stylishly in the $100,000 Untapable S. Trained by Brendan Walsh and ridden by Brian Hernandez Jr., the Into Mischief filly banked 10 points to up her tally to 13.
Pretty Mischievous was the slight 1.70-1 second choice, with 1.10-1 favoritism going to Vahva. But favorite backers knew their fate as Vahva went to her knees at the break, found herself out of sync in last, and did well to keep Luis Saez in the saddle.
Meanwhile, Pretty Mischievous had gathered herself into a cozy stalking spot from her rail draw. Perched within a couple of lengths of pacesetting All About Me through fractions of :24.26 and :48.31, she muscled her way to split the leader and attending Hayunevano. Pretty Mischievous put her head in front at the six-furlong mark in 1:13.67 and spurted away by 3 1/4 lengths in the stretch.
The Alys Look tried to add to the Cox/Geroux win column, but had to settle for a clear second-best, worth four points. Vahva ran a positively heroic race to close for third, snaring three points. Hayunevano tired to fourth (two points), and Hang the Moon was along for fifth (one point). Just Like Magic, Cotton Candy Annie, Two Minute Drill, and All About Me rounded out the strung-out field. Miss Shipman was withdrawn in favor of the Letellier Memorial earlier on the card, where she placed third.
Pretty Mischievous, who negotiated one mile and 70 yards in 1:44.03, was Walsh’s third winner on the card after Moon Swag in the Joseph E. “Spanky” Broussard Memorial and Godolphin’s impressive maiden-breaker Banishing. Her resume now reads 4-3-0-1, $241,310, including maiden and entry-level allowance scores at Churchill this fall. She made her stakes and two-turn debut in the Golden Rod.
Out of 2016 Spinaway (G1) heroine Pretty City Dancer, who didn’t progress as hoped on the Oaks trail, Pretty Mischievous aims to succeed where her dam did not. Pretty City Dancer’s pedigree had implied that she would fare well with maturity and distance, as a Tapit half-sister to Lear’s Princess, who famously upset Rags to Riches in the 2007 Gazelle (G1).