Lady Sheila Stable's New York homebred Downtown Mischief kept her perfect record intact when defeating open company in the March 18 $100,000 Cicada Stakes, a six-furlong sprint for sophomore fillies at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Trained by the red-hot Linda Rice and ridden to victory by Jose Lezcano, Downtown Mischief made the first stakes start of her career a winning one to maintain a flawless 3-for-3 record. The victory followed a pair of six-furlong scores against state-breds at the Big A when taking an allowance Feb. 17 and a maiden by an eye-catching 7 3/4 lengths Jan. 14.
Away cleanly from post 3, Downtown Mischief broke a step slow and was urged to confront the fast-breaking Fabulously Funny as the field exited the chute. Hot Little Thing was rushed up quickly by Alex Achard and battled for the lead down the backstretch through an opening quarter-mile in :22.89 over the fast main track.
Downtown Mischief raced between foes mid-turn as a stubborn Fabulously Funny gave chase to her inside with an all-out Hot Little Thing to her outside after a half-mile in :47.19. Downtown Mischief came away with a clear advantage at the top of the lane and kicked clear from her retreating pace pressers, left only to deal with the late turn of foot from Tappin Jose, who rallied from fifth to make her bid at the eighth pole. Tappin Josie drifted wide to the center of the racetrack and could not make up enough ground to catch Downtown Mischief, who reached the wire 1 1/2 lengths in front and stopped the clock in 1:13.72.
Tappin Josie completed the exacta by 3 1/2 lengths over Fabulously Funny with Fancy Azteca finishing another four lengths back to complete the superfecta. Hot Little Thing and Musicmansandy completed the order of finish.
Rice said the plans she discussed with Lezcano were a moot point once the swift Hot Little Thing missed the break from post 2. She expected tremendous speed from Hot Little Thing because she looked fast in the paddock and was concerned about Fabulously Funny, too. She expected to see Downtown Mischief tracking second to Hot Little Thing.
"It totally went upside down," said Rice. "(Hot Little Thing) doesn't break and then she comes rushing up through, but Jose is such a pro and he never loses his cool. When he needed to hold his ground, he did—and I think that makes a difference."
Lezcano said Downtown Mischief handled the pace pressure professionally.
"She didn't break that sharp," said Lezcano. "The number 2 didn't break either, so I had to go for my position. When I asked her, she gave me a good run. I stayed in my position when I saw the two on the outside. I asked her at the quarter pole and she ran on like the good horse that she is. She got a little tired late."
Rice said Downtown Mischief is likely to return to state-bred company for her next start in the seven-furlong $125,000 Bouwerie Stakes for sophomore fillies May 29 at Belmont Park.
Downtown Mischief is out of the Speightstown mare Downtown Mama, a three-time winner campaigned by the same connections and a half sister to grade 2 winner Alpha Kitten. Her sire, Into Mischief, stands at Spendthrift Farm for $250,000.