July 20, 2024

Pretty Mischievous, Maple Leaf Mel clash in Test

Pretty Mischievous wins the Acorn Stakes (Photo by Joe Labozzetta/Coglianese Photos)

Pro tem leaders of the three-year-old filly division, when they compete at Saratoga at all, generally point to prestigious two-turn races like the Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) and Alabama (G1). That’s not the case with Pretty Mischievous, who instead shortens up for Saturday’s $500,000 Test (G1).

A Godolphin homebred, Pretty Mischievous has won three of four starts this term, including back-to-back scores in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) and Acorn (G1) after adding the blinkers. The margins have been narrow, though, with only a head separating Pretty Mischievous and returning rival Dorth Vader in the June 9 Acorn over 1 1/16 miles.

“We’re a little more comfortable going to the Test,” trainer Brendan Walsh said. “It’s a seven-eighths that takes getting, and they will roll in it. It’s more like a one-turn mile anywhere else, plus it gives us a little more time.

“Since we started running her last year, she missed one race at the Fair Grounds over the winter but she’s run pretty much every four or five weeks since. Even though she’s taken her racing well, I had it in mind I wouldn’t mind giving her a couple weeks after the Acorn and back off her and jog her for 10 days. We did that and I think she’s really benefited from it.”

Maple Leaf Mel has developed into the best pure sprinting three-year-old filly in the country in recent months. Starting out her career 3-for-3 in New York-bred company, Maple Leaf Mel has impressively captured the Miss Preakness (G3) and Victory Ride (G3) against open foes in her past two outings.

“It just gives you more confidence every time you run her that as the competition has gotten steeper, she does it easily,” trainer Melanie Giddings said. “It makes you feel good going into a race like this.”

Dorth Vader’s Acorn performance was her best since registering a 46-1 upset of the Davona Dale (G2) in early March, and her first since joining the George Weaver barn. She’s done her best work around one turn.

Munnys Gold figures to provide the pace in the Test. Winner of her first three starts by a combined 37 1/4 lengths, the daughter of Munnings was next beaten a head in the Eight Belles (G2) and then failed to stay the Acorn trip, finishing fourth by 4 1/2 lengths.

Jersey Pearl and Clearly Unhinged step up in class off of allowance wins at Santa Anita and Ellis Park, respectively, while Beaumont (G2) runner-up Interpolate looks to rebound off of a modest fourth-place showing in the Victory Ride.