the horse who made me speechless

Mischief N Mayhem had a tough 2014 fall meet at Hawthorne.  After a six-month lay, she returned in October and raced three times during the course of that meet.  A dyed-in-the-wool speed horse, she only set the early fractions in one of those three starts.  In all three of those races she finished off the board and well beaten.  She made her six-year-old debut on February 21, during the opening weekend of the spring meet.

Seeing Mischief N Mayhem run always makes a race day better, just by virtue of her being there.  However, I wondered after last meet whether she would ever again run as well as she had during fall of 2013 and spring of 2014.

On Saturday, she did.

Mischief N Mayhem, in the post parade before the Hawthorne 1st on Saturday, February 21.
Mischief N Mayhem, in the post parade before the Hawthorne 1st on Saturday, February 21.

On paper, it looked like a good return race for her.  Even though she drew the outermost gate, there was not a whole lot of early speed.  Reckless Moment had shown some front-end zip in some of her races, but did not always send.  That was it.  As long as Mischief N Mayhem could get out of the gate well, she had a strong chance to get the best of it entering the clubhouse turn.  After that, the question would only remain whether she could keep it up for a mile and seventy yards.

The race began as well as any fan of Mischief N Mayhem could have hoped.  She came out of the gate well, and responded when Emanuel Cosme urged her to the front.  She had the rail and a clear lead going into the clubhouse turn, and quickly put three lengths between herself and Scorpiobdancing.  The only other possible speed on paper, Reckless Moment, settled midpack and made no early move for the front.

Mischief N Mayhem set a comfortable pace, and kept that open lead up to the far turn.  At that point, both Reckless Moment and Scorpiobdancing began their runs.  Reckless Moment advanced first.  She got within a length of the lead before the field turned for home, but Mischief N Mayhem would have none of it.  She kept running, looking well within herself, and entered the stretch a little over a length in front.

Near the three-sixteenths pole, Scorpiobdancing angled off the rail and bore down upon Mischief N Mayhem.  The pair forged clear of the field, in a race of their own down the stretch.  Though Scorpiobdancing drew even near the furlong pole and edged clear to prevail by a length, Mischief N Mayhem crossed the wire 6 1/4 lengths clear of third-place Royal Seven.

After the race, I was speechless in a good way: I ran into Emanuel Cosme after the race and tried to thank him for riding her as well as she did, but struggled to form sentences.  In the moments after the race, I could not find words to express how happy it had made me.

I had just seen the sort of race I hoped in my heart to see, despite my head’s best efforts to temper those hopes.  After last meet, when she was never beaten by fewer than 16 1/4 lengths in any of her three starts, Mischief N Mayhem looked like a contender throughout.  She ran her race, and stayed on with energy even after being passed.

Mischief N Mayhem after her second-place finish on February 21.
Mischief N Mayhem after her second-place finish on February 21.

Welcome back, Mischief N Mayhem.  Rendering me speechless is tough for even a horse to do, and you did it.  You are a special horse.

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