Weekend Mischief will be up to no good at Gulfstream Park Saturday as far as her rivals in the $75,000 Barely Even are concerned.
The Arindel homebred is scheduled to seek her third straight victory when she faces eight other fillies and mares in the mile event for non-winners of a sweepstakes this year. The 3-year-old daughter of Into Mischief has blossomed in her two most recent starts, both at the one-turn mile distance of the Barely Even.
Weekend Mischief, who had won only one of her first 10 starts, has captured a pair of optional claiming allowance races in going-away fashion. Trainer Stanley Gold saddled the Florida-bred for a 1 ¾-length off-the-pace score June 21, before the late-developing filly stepped it up July 20 to win by four lengths.
“We had her on the turf; we had her going two turns,” Gold said. “It seems like she wants a middle distance and she wants to stay on the dirt. She’d go two turns before she’d go shorter than a mile, but the mile seems like a good distance for her here.”
Weekend Mischief broke through with a most promising maiden score in her third career start, closing from off the pace to win by 5 ½ lengths in July 2017. She would turn in some respectable performances during the 2017-2018 Championship Meet, finishing third behind Fly So High, who went on to win the Davona Dale (G2) by three lengths in her next start; and finishing fourth behind Souper Striking, who came back two races later to win the Hilltop Stakes at Pimlico on Preakness Weekend.
Weekend Mischief has run well on turf as well as dirt, particularly on May 12, when she made her way through traffic to close from 12th at the quarter pole to finish third behind stakes winners Bitacora and Midnight Soiree at a mile on turf.
“I never really saw her as a turf horses. We tried her on the turf and she ran OK, so we stayed on it,” Gold said. “She’d always breeze so well on the dirt, so we said, ‘Well, she’s breezing well on the dirt, so let’s run on the dirt. She’ll run well on either surface, but I like her on the dirt.’”
Her recent performances have backed up her trainer’s assessment of her abilities.
“We had a couple of races when she didn’t like an off track, but she’s just been getting better,” Gold said. “She’s always had ability. She’s running up to her training now. She’s training really strong. She’s doing really good right now.”
Jeffrey Sanchez has the return mount.
My Cousin Martha, who is owned by trainer Steve Dwoskin, also enters the Barely Even in sharp form. The 4-year-old daughter of Stay Thirsty notched an off-the-pace score in a mile optional claiming allowance May 17, before coming up just a half-length short of winning a seven-furlong sprint July 12. My Cousin Martha has two wins and two seconds in four starts at a mile.
The Ontario-bred filly will be ridden by Miguel Vazquez.
Oola Gal, who has won two of her last three starts while racing at six furlongs, will stretch out to a mile for the first time in the Barely Even. Trained by Leo Azpurua Jr. for Vegso Racing Stable, the 3-year-old daughter of Quality Road most recently rallied from last to win a July 12 optional claiming allowance by 2 ½ lengths under returning jockey Nik Juarez.
Magalie, Motivate, First Distinction, Faith N Hope, Amaluna and Spanish Harlem round out the field.