Eight of the 13 Oaklawn-raced horses in the 36th annual Breeders’ Cup World Championships Saturday at Santa Anita finished in the top four, highlighted by Mitole’s Eclipse Award-clinching victory in the $2 million Sprint (G1) for perennial Oaklawn champions Ricardo Santana Jr. and Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen.
Mitole, a multiple Oaklawn stakes winner, secured his male sprint title by overhauling favored Shancelot in deep stretch to win by 1 ¼ lengths. Mitole, who zipped 6 furlongs over a fast track in 1:09, paid $5.60 as the second choice in the eight-horse field. The Sprint represented the first Breeders’ Cup victory for Santana, Oaklawn’s leading rider in 2013-2018 and second this year. Asmussen, who trains Mitole for longtime clients William and Corinne Heiligbrodt, has seven Breeders’ Cup victories. Asmussen has won 10 Oaklawn training titles – second-highest total in track history – since 2007.
Mitole, who is scheduled to stand stud in 2020 at Spendthrift Farm in Kentucky, has won 6 of 7 starts this year and $2,756,200. Mitole won Oaklawn’s $150,000 Bachelor Stakes last year and its $500,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) April 13. Mitole also broke his maiden last year at Oaklawn and was a March 2 allowance winner in Hot Springs, his 2019 debut.
Overall, Mitole, a 4-year-old son of Eskendereya, has a 10-2-2 record from 14 lifetime starts and earnings of $3,104,910.
Oaklawn-raced Blue Prize won the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1), handing multiple Oaklawn stakes winner Midnight Bisou her first loss in 2019.
Blue Prize ($19.80) finished 1 ½ lengths ahead of Midnight Bisou, the Asmussen-trained even-money favorite in the 11-horse field.
Midnight Bisou, the country’s top-ranked older female dirt runner, won Oaklawn’s $350,000 Azeri Stakes (G2) March 16 and the $750,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) April 14. Blue Prize finished seventh in the 2018 Azeri. Ridden by Joe Bravo, Blue Prize ran 1 1/8 miles over a fast track in 1:50.50.
In other Breeders’ Cup races, Oaklawn-raced Omaha Beach and Snapper Sinclair finished second and fourth, respectively, in the $1 million Dirt Mile (G1), Whitmore was third in the Sprint and Higher Power and Elate were third and fourth, respectively, in the $6 million Classic (G1) at 1 ¼ miles.
Omaha Beach won the second division of Oaklawn’s $750,000 Rebel (G2) March 16 before returning to Hot Springs to win the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 13. Snapper Sinclair, another Asmussen trainee, was a Feb. 17 allowance winner in Hot Springs. Whitmore is five-time Oaklawn stakes winner. Higher Power was a 2018 Oaklawn allowance winner, while Elate finished second to Midnight Bisou and in the Azeri and third behind Midnight Bisou in the Apple Blossom. Elate also finished third in Oaklawn’s $200,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) for 3-year-old fillies in 2017.
Heavily favored Mia Mischief, in possibly her final career start, was an easy winner of the $120,000 Dream Supreme Stakes Friday at Churchill Downs for Asmussen.
Mia Mischief, winner of the $150,000 Purple Martin Stakes for 3-year-old female sprinters last year at Oaklawn, was entered in Tuesday’s Fasig-Tipton November Sale as a racing/broodmare prospect.
Ridden by Julien Leparoux, Mia Mischief ($3.60) finished five lengths of Meadow Dance, with multiple Oaklawn winner Pretty Greeley a half-length farther back in third. Mia Mischief covered 6 furlongs over a fast track in 1:09.50.
Mia Mischief, a 4-year-old daughter of super sire Into Mischief, opened her 2019 campaign with a March 3 allowance victory at Oaklawn and scored her biggest career victory to date in the $500,000 Humana Distaff Stakes (G1) May 4 at Churchill Downs. Mia Mischief, a winner of 8 of 19 career starts, has earned $1,083,834.
Ready, Set, Go
Recruiting Ready, easy winner Oaklawn’s $150,000 Bachelor Stakes for 3-year-old sprinters in 2017, pushed his career earnings to almost $800,000 with a victory in the $120,000 Bet on Sunshine Stakes Saturday at Churchill Downs.
Owned by historic Sagamore Farm LLC and trained by Stan Hough, Recruiting Ready was a gate-to-wire 3 ¾-length winner of the Bet on Sunshine, setting a stakes record (1:08.81) for 6 furlongs over a fast track. Multiple Oaklawn stakes winner Junior College (Hot Springs in 2007-2008) set the previous mark (1:08.82) in 2007.
Recruiting Ready, who was ridden by Corey Lanerie, paid $5.20 as the favorite in the eight-horse field. Wilbo, winner of Oaklawn’s $125,000 King Cotton Stakes for older sprinters in 2018, finished third for Chris Hartman, Oaklawn’s leading trainer in 2015. Wilbo has earned $758,013 in his 35-race career.
Recruiting Ready has a 9-3-5 record from 25 lifetime starts and earnings of $799,189.
Stall applications for the 2020 Oaklawn meeting that opens Jan. 24 are due Nov. Thursday. The stable area opens Nov. 25, with the track opening for training Dec. 2. … Oaklawn allowance winner Mylady Curlin ran second in the $200,000 Chilukki Stakes (G3) for fillies and mares going a mile Saturday at Churchill Downs. … Oaklawn-raced Moonlit Garden finished third $150,000 Turnback the Alarm Handicap (G3) for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles Saturday at Aqueduct. … Arkansas-bred star Hoonani Road worked a half-mile in :48.40 Oct. 29 at Churchill Downs and could start once before the 2020 Oaklawn meeting, trainer Wayne Catalano said Sunday afternoon. Hoonani Road received a lengthy vacation following his last start, a half-length victory in the $200,000 Arkansas Breeders’ Championship Stakes May 4 at Oaklawn. The 4-year-old gelding had three published workouts in October. “He’s doing great,” Catalano said of Hoonani Road, a three-time stakes winner at Oaklawn for owner Jerry Caroom of Hot Springs. … Trainer Randy Morse, an Oaklawn regular, entered Tuesday with 998 career North American victories, according to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization.