Updated on 11/03/2012 10:28PM

Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint: Mizdirection fires big off five-month layoff

Barbara D. Livingston
Mizdirection, only one of two fillies in the Turf Sprint, gives trainer Mike Puype his first Breeders' Cup win.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Mizdirection knows the way around Santa Anita’s quirky downhill turf course. And trainer Mike Puype, it’s evident, knows how to bring a horse back from a layoff. Making her first start since May 27, the Mizdirection won the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, her third win in three starts going 6 1/2 furlongs on grass here.  

Mizdirection’s layoff was the longest break between races for any Breeders’ Cup starter, but Puype had said all week he hadn’t even desired a prep race for the big spot. Nothing had gone seriously amiss with Mizdirection since she finished second more than five months ago at Hollywood Park. A little more than a month ago, with Mizdirection well along in her training, Alex Solis Jr., who put together the partnership that owns Mizdirection, suggested Puype start considering a comeback in the Breeders’ Cup.

[BREEDERS' CUP 2012: Saturday results and video replays]

“He told me all the best colts out here had started getting hurt, and that we needed to start thinking about this race,” Puype said. “I was really content with not having a layoff race.”

Jockey Mike Smith, who became the leading Breeders’ Cup rider by wins this weekend, and scored his 17th such victory in the Turf Sprint, was riding the 6-1 Mizdirection for the first time since May 2011. When he was aboard her that day Mizdirection set the pace in a six-furlong turf race at Hollywood; Saturday, Smith found himself 11th of 14 after a half-mile had been run.

“The leaders got away from me a little bit, but I kept telling myself they had to be going too quick if they were that far in front of Mizdirection,” Smith said.

He was right. Irish invader Starstpangledbanner was pushed to the front from post 14, going clear through an opening quarter-mile in 21.11 seconds and a half in 42.39, an enervating tempo. Pressed by Great Mills and Reneezgotzip, Starspangledbanner held the lead to the top of the stretch but began to tire as closers ganged up. Unbridled’s Note briefly flashed to the fore, but Mizdirection was coming wider and finishing faster, and she pushed past to beat the 3-year-old Unbridled's Note by a half-length. Reneesgotzip ran well for third, with Great Mills holding fourth. Winning time for the 6 1/2 furlongs on a firm course was a fine 1:11.39.

Steve Asmussen, who had just won the Dirt Mile with Tapizar, sent out the second- and fourth-place finishers in the Turf Sprint. California Flag, the 8-year-old winner of the 2009 Turf Sprint who was making the last start of his career, never got involved and was 13th.

Mizdirection was a 20-1 shot on the morning line but opened up as the 7-2 favorite and wound up the 6-1 fourth choice, paying $15.80 to win.

Mizdirection, the second Breeders’ Cup winner this weekend for the sire Mizzen Mast, was bred by Joseph Perrotta in Kentucky, and is out of the mare Deceptive. Solis said he was involved in her purchase as a yearling, after which the partnership that owned her dissolved. Solis bought Mizdirection back as a 2-year-old, and after she won her maiden in her second start, she was again sold to a large group of partners that includes the television and radio sports-talk host Jim Rome.

“I’m still numb,” Rome said. “I’m having a hard time believing that she came back and won that race.”

HandicapperErni More than 1 year ago
Mizdirection the filly beat the boys in the Turf Sprint. The other filly Reneesgotzip came in 3rd. Nice run and certainly great to see a famous person win that one. Sports TV Host Jim Rome was the owner of Mizdirection and certainly we need more figures in horse racing like him. It will keep him in the game for a while longer. Disappointments in there were California Flag and Bridgetown who were the last 2 and they were one of the top 4 choices. I think the inside affected California Flag’s chances in there. Great ride by Mike Smith who is now the all-time leading rider for BC wins.
jttf More than 1 year ago
locals win this race every year. too big of an advantage to cross over a dirt track. color blind horses dont see the color difference from grass and dirt. only the difference in texture.
Jonathan Yarde More than 1 year ago
The Clones must have pounded this horse. I picked her to win because of the 6.5F downhill record, but almost stayed out because of the price.
Richard Fairclough More than 1 year ago
"izdirection’s layoff was the longest break between races for any Breeders’ Cup starter" surely animal kingdom had a longer lay off... still this was an impressive win
JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
Mizdirection rewarded many who believed in her by gamely winning the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint, returning a very nice $15,80 to win. She ran the race of her life today. She looked wonderful doing so. Both she and Reneesgotzip ran great races, making a great showing against the male horses in the race. Mizdirection definitely loves Santa Anita, she proved it again today, and Mike Smith gave her a spectacular ride for the win. His win on Royal Delta and Mizdirection were solid. He drew out the talent from both horses very well. Congratulations to Mizdirection and all of her connections on a wonderful win.
Anil More than 1 year ago
Do you work for DRF?
laura ban More than 1 year ago
Very nice Joy! Your comments are always a pleasure to read! I couldn't have put it better! You should be a sports writter, you have a way with words! A nd you're right, Mike did draw out the talent of Royal Delta and Mizdirection very well. Keep up the great posts!
Susan Huart More than 1 year ago
Mike Smith was definitely thee jockey this weekend. He did a great job on both champion fillies most def!
Carson Wiest More than 1 year ago
Grade 3 horse at best and she wins the Breeders Cup. Not a fan of the down hill course, not fair for imports
dotti primrose More than 1 year ago
imports meaning Europeans? Many English courses have hills and several other quirks, too. They run left to right, right to left, straight, up and down hills, figure 8 courses, etc.
Amy Hurley More than 1 year ago
Excellent point! The Euros had every chance in this race, but they are not geared for sprinting that fast.
Jonathan Yarde More than 1 year ago
Doubt that he meant Euros, as there was only 1 in the field, the out of retirement Starspangledbanner who was the 1 responsible for those insane fractions.
Carson Wiest More than 1 year ago
sorry, by import i meant anything shipping including the east coasters.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Does Anything in life go good for you? Get some cheese for that whine.
Todd Elliot More than 1 year ago
I said California Flag had no chance and for sure he did not,,,eight years old and one race in who knows how long,,mabye they will retire him now but the owners, being greedy, will run him until he drops since he is a gelding
dotti primrose More than 1 year ago
too bad the connections did not know TODD ELLIOTT made such a declaration....they could have saved themselves a lot of time and money if they only knew what TODD ELLIOTT said.