BY Dick Jerardi
Mischevious Alex cost $140,000 at an Ocala, Fla., 2-year-old sale in April 2019. After winning the Grade III Swale Stakes on Feb. 1 at Gulfstream Park and the Grade III Gotham Stakes on March 7 at Aqueduct, the 3-year-old colt, named for co-owner Chuck Zacney’s son Alex, has banked $344,230, with more on the horizon.
“He’s pretty good,’’ said trainer John Servis. “He’s got such a good mind. Nothing bothers him, He’s so laid back. I don’t know how good he is…It’s like Irad (Ortiz who rode him in the Swale) said, `it’s like driving a car he just waits for you to step on the gas.’’’
Mischevious Alex has been perfect in three starts with blinkers. The colt overwhelmed the field in the Nov. 5 Parx Juvenile before winning the Swale and Gotham.
It was quite the day at Aqueduct for Servis, co-owners Zacney and Glenn Bennett, as well as Parx Hall of Fame jockey Kendrick Carmouche. Eighty minutes before favored Mischevious Alex won his race by a comfortable 2 lengths, the group also teamed up as 4-1 Diamond King won the Stymie Stakes by 1 1/4 lengths, running the mile in 1:38.04, nearly four-fifths of a second faster than his two-year younger stablemate. Diamond King has now won $713,350 in his 42-race career.
“That’s the way it was supposed to go,’’ said Carmouche who has had two-stakes days before but never “big ones like that. We got what we set out to get.’’
This is a particularly strong year for 3-year-olds in the run-up to the Kentucky Derby, with several horses from powerful stables already earning Beyer figures in the triple digits and near triple digits. In the Gotham, Mischevious Alex got a 90 Beyer, a nice number but not really good enough to compete in the Derby without significant improvement.
The colt’s schedule is in flux. Obviously, Zacney especially would love to win the Derby. It was 15 years ago when he and his partners ran the best 3-year-old of 2005 in the Derby, only to see Afleet Alex run third behind two longshots. The colt then dominated the Preakness and Belmont Stakes.
The co-owners and Servis are nothing if not realistic. Zacney was talking maybe Wood Memorial and Preakness. Servis was not sure, thinking maybe Mischevious Alex would be best at a mile, but not discounting the possibility that he could be effective going longer. The Derby is a bit of a longshot, but not out of the question yet.
“He’s so tactical,’’ Carmouche said. “You get a horse that can break that fast and can do anything. He’s rateable. You don’t have to be on the lead…He sits good in your hand. If I wanted to wire the field I could have. That’s how much horse I had.’’
Carmouche gave Diamond King a similar ride with the same result.
“I was glad to get (Carmouche) on Diamond King because I want him to ride him at Charles Town,’’ Servis said,
That would be for the $1 million Charles Town Classic, a race Diamond King lost by a half-length in 2019.
That could be a cool victory for Servis, a West Virginia native.
“It’s huge for the horse too,’’ Servis said. “A million-dollar race, graded earnings, What’s he worth as a stallion?’
Diamond King, by the top stallion Quality Road, is a full brother to the excellent stakes-winning filly Bellanfina.
So Mischevious Alex and Diamond King, a strong exacta as we head into the spring and the prime racing season.
Carmouche especially loved the day because he got to do it “with my Parx people. You know how I feel about that. It’s good to see my people come to New York and be successful at it.’’
His “Parx people’’ took a quarter million in purses back home following a New York Saturday to remember.