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G2 Rachel Alexandra win puts Pretty Mischievous firmly in Kentucky Oaks picture


Pretty Mischievous announced herself as a leading Kentucky Oaks contender with a tenacious victory in the G2 Rachel Alexandra Stakes at Fair Grounds, USA, on Saturday, 18 February.

The Into Mischief homebred headed into the extended-mile contest having won three of her previous four starts for Brendan Walsh, including a decisive course and distance success in the Untapable Stakes in late December.

After breaking smartly, Pretty Mischievous raced in third as Miracle led the six-strong field. The Godolphin filly went second when the field bunched down the back straight before angling out to deliver her challenge turning in.

Pretty Mischievous ranged up under Tyler Gaffalione to dispute the running a furlong and a half out but Miracle rallied strongly on her inside.

Both horses battled for the lead until Pretty Mischievous asserted close home for a three-quarter length verdict. The front two pulled nearly eight lengths clear of the previously unbeaten Hoosier Philly in third.

Brendan Walsh said: “Pretty Mischievous has done well from two to three and had really come into her own over the last few weeks. We were quietly confident – whether she was good enough or not was the question and I think she proved today that she was.

“The first thing we will do is see how she comes out of this and I am sure that we will try to give her a start between now and the Kentucky Oaks. We will talk and do what’s best for her. Hopefully, she can turn up 110 per cent on the big day.”

Tyler Gaffalione added: “Before Pretty Mischievous had even run, Brendan told me that he had a really special one in the barn. I came over and worked her a couple of times, and we were really hot on her. She just keeps improving and growing, mentally and physically. She put it all together today.”

Brendan Walsh and Tyler Gaffalione also teamed up earlier on the card with Lake Lucerne, who gained a deserved Stakes win as she beat Soft Touch in the Albert M Stall Memorial Stakes.

The Dubawi mare, who had produced a string of good efforts in defeat since scoring at Saratoga in August, 2021, quickened strongly down the stands’ rail for a cosy two-length success.

Brendan Walsh said: “Lake Lucerne has been threatening to do this for a while and it all fell into place for her today. It’s a great effort all round – from the team and Tyler – and it’s fantastic to get a Stakes win with her pedigree.”