By Danny Brewer
When is bad good? If you are talking about athletic ability that is when it is definitely good to be considered “bad”. One sparkling three-year-old filly certainly fits that “bad” bill as she prepares for the 2023 Breeders’ Cup.
Pretty Mischievous is what some consider the best three-year-old horse in training regardless of gender. Yes, the males get more of the publicity because of the Kentucky Derby and Triple Crown trail, but this fabulous female has been nothing short of fantastic over the past 12 months. Since breaking her maiden at first asking on September 18, 2022, this daughter of Into Mischief has posted a far better record than any of her male counterparts. Seven wins, two seconds, and a third in ten starts make this daughter of Into Mischief the real royalty among horses her age.
“It is really unbelievable what she’s done over the past year”, says her trainer Brendan Walsh. “Ten starts in about twelve months and never worse than third against top company is a real statement.”
Among those seven wins are graded stakes scores in the Rachel Alexandra, Kentucky Oaks, Acorn, and Test Stakes. The Oaks and Acorn were the grade 1 filly races in the Triple Tierra series that mirrors the Derby and the Belmont for the boys.
Alas, the three-year-old season has now ended, and the Breeders’ Cup beckons. Just how “bad” is Pretty Mischievous? The Distaff will tell us as she will line up against a stellar bunch of older females who are accomplished in their own right. Adare Manor is coming in off five straight wins for trainer Bob Baffert, Idiomatic has won four in a row for trainer Brad Cox, and Clairiere has two grade 1 wins this year, just to name a few.
As is the case with any race, the goal at the Breeders’ Cup is to be in top form as these races represent the best of the best in competition. Some trainers prefer to bring in a fresh horse. For the crafty conditioning Walsh, ten races in a twelve-month span is not a concern for this Godolphin-owned filly.
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“She runs better when she is racing and training”, says the 2023 Kentucky Downs champion trainer. “She really is a remarkable filly that continues to amaze all of us.”
Pretty Mischievous was a hard closing second in the Cotillion Stakes in her last start on September 23 at PARX in Pennsylvania. She may fly to California a bit under the radar for the November 4 Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Santa Anita considering her competition and their recent achievements. But for the wily training Walsh there are no worries when it comes to his filly.
“She looks as good as she ever has”, says Walsh, a native of Cork, Ireland. “We have no reason to believe she is not as good as she has been all year. She looks to be in top form and we hope that will be good enough against a great group.”
On November 4 the Breeders’ Cup Distaff will tell us if Pretty Mischievous is “bad”.