This is Mischief N Mayhem, one of my favourite horses in training.
Why do I love her so much? As with most things in my experience of horse racing, it’s a combination of little things.
First of all, her name is awesome.
Secondly, how can you not love those ears and that nose?
Third, and probably most on-point, she raced the first day I ever went to Hawthorne. It was a rainy, muddy, and generally nasty day…the day of the Hawthorne Derby last year. I don’t remember who I picked in that race, since I was not writing about horse racing yet. I didn’t document my picks as any more than notes scrawled in the margins of my program, and the occasional tweet. She shot to the front, led everyone on a merry chase through the sloppy track, and splashed home ahead by almost half a dozen lengths. This made me happy.
Something in that race clicked, and I started following her. Last fall I went to Hawthorne about every two weeks, since I still had this strange idea that it might be excessive to go to the racetrack every week. (That didn’t last.) Still, last November, I had made plans to go to the races one Saturday…and then went again the next day, too, because she was racing. It was my first time going to the races more than once in a week, and even though she finished dead last that day, I was still happy I got to see her run.
I wasn’t even sure she was in training anymore until this past weekend. She had last raced in April at Hawthorne, but had been off the worktab since. I had gotten no workout notifications on her. I had no idea whether she was still racing, or was sent off to the breeding shed…either seemed plausible options, as she is five years old this year. Saturday night, after going to Hawthorne, I was delving through the Wednesday and Thursday cards at Hawthorne trying to come up with a topic for Chicago Railbird…and there she was, drawn into Wednesday’s Hawthorne 4th. It was a $5,000 beaten claimer, 1 1/16 miles on the dirt…in other words, just her bag. The lack of works, though, was a little alarming…six months off the track, and no published works? Still, I was glad to see she was around, and glad I’d get to see her again. Fortunately, there was a workout…sometimes Fairmount can be a little slow at publishing them, but she had a move on October 6. That made it a little less strange, as trainer Rusty Hellman never seems to publish a lot of works on her when she comes back after the layoffs.
I had high hopes for Mischief N Mayhem yesterday. She had run well off a lay before, and had shown herself to like sloppy tracks. Alas, yesterday was not her day. She loves being on the lead, and she was mid-pack by the time the field went around the clubhouse turn. She only lost ground from there, and completely dropped out of it approaching the far turn. She finished ninth in the field of ten, beaten 27 1/2 lengths.
I just wanted to give her a hug and a peppermint. This didn’t happen, first because I was not at the track…and secondly, because I don’t actually know anyone in her barn.
I was hoping she’d run well, because she had been able to win fresh off a three-month layoff before, this past March. I remember watching that race while waiting for a bus, and I’m sure anyone walking past the corner of Addison and Damen around 1:52pm Central on March 16 was wondering why in the world that person kept yelling “stay up there, girl!” over and over at their phone.
Still, it turned out six months was a completely different beast. Hopefully she came out of the race okay, and will be sharper when she races again.
Also? I hope her next race is a day I can be at the track, because I want to see her up close again.
As the tweet shows, this picture was taken by Chrissy Bialek in the paddock, before her October 15 race. I could not be happier that she took some pictures of Mischief N Mayhem at the track yesterday. Thank you.