09/25/2014 7:26PM

Miss Mischief gives Capuano training title with HBPA win

Coady Photography
Miss Mischief wins the $100,000 HBPA Stakes by 1 3/4 lengths.

Miss Mischief scored her third consecutive impressive victory at Presque Isle Downs in $100,000 HBPA Stakes on Thursday evening. The HBPA was one of three stakes on the closing-night card at the Erie, Pa., racino’s Thoroughbred meet.

Miss Mischief’s HBPA win broke a three-way tie atop the trainer standings, giving Dale Capuano his 30th win of the meet and the title.

Miss Mischief raced midpack early in the HBPA and then began a steady advance under jockey Antonio Gallardo, the leading rider at the meet. Gallardo took Miss Mischief outside the two leaders entering the stretch and outfinished 2-1 second Choice Awesome Flower to win by 1 3/4 lengths.

It was 5 1/2 lengths back from Awesome Flower to Star Pearl in third.

Sheer Drama set early fractions of 24.11 seconds and 47.97 in the HBPA. Star Pearl took the lead outside Sheer Drama on the far turn through six furlongs in 1:11.64 but was quickly challenged by Awesome Flower, who soon took over.

Miss Mischief covered the mile and 70 yards in 1:39.55 and paid $5.40. Miss Mischief, a 4-year-old daughter of Into Mischief, has now won 6 of 13 career starts and $258.800.

Femme Fatale was cast in the gate before the start and scratched. The field was unloaded after the incident.

There was a short tote delay after the race was made official.

Fitz Dixon Memorial: A confusing race

Less Than Perfect had to withstand a trainer’s objection after winning the Fitz Dixon Memorial by 2 1/4 lengths, but he was cleared of any wrongdoing at the start and allowed to keep his share of the $100,000 purse.

Less Than Perfect bumped with Draw Nigh at the start but pressed the early pace in the six-furlong sprint for 2-year-olds outside Breakin the Fever. Following fractions of 22.28 and 45.18, Less than Perfect disposed of Breakin the Fever and drew off under jockey Willie Martinez.

Breakin the Fever broke outward from his inside post position and appeared to bump Draw Nigh into Less Than Perfect. Jim Rankin, the trainer of Draw Nigh, lodged a claim of foul against the winner, Less Than Perfect, but it was not allowed.

Bourbon Cowboy, the 3-2 favorite in the eight-horse field was never far back and finished well but could not catch the winner. Draw Nigh rallied for third, four lengths behind Bourbon Cowboy. It was another 4 3/4 lengths back to Breakin the Fever in fourth.

Less Than Perfect, owned by Clyde Rice and trained by Kevin Rice, paid $20 to win and was timed in 1:16.29. Less Than Perfect has now won 2 of 7 starts and $107,655.

Seraph, the second choice at 2-1, refused to break and stayed in the starting gate. The stewards conducted an inquiry but ruled that he had every opportunity to break.

This is the second time in recent weeks that a horse at Presque Isle refused to break from the gate. Madame Cactus refused to break in the Grade 2 Masters on Sept. 8.

There was a tote delay following the Dixon that delayed the posting of prices for approximately 10 minutes after the race was made official.

Paxson Memorial: Happy to Go holds on

Happy to Go opened up a clear lead in the stretch of the $75,000 Mrs. Henry Paxson Memorial Stakes and then was able to hold off Chilly Star by two lengths despite drifting out in the stretch.

The Paxson was a six-furlong sprint for Pennsylvania-bred 2-year-old fillies.

Happy to Go, the 7-5 favorite, raced outside horses in the second flight early, challenged front-running Brennan for the lead on the far turn, and then took control in the upper stretch.

Chilly Star was shuffled back to last in the six-horse field on the backstretch, began to gain momentum outside horses on the turn, and then finished well although unable to seriously menace the winner. Brennan held on for third, 1 1/2 lengths behind Chilly Star.

The win was Happy to Go’s second from five starts. She had finished third in the Arlington-Washington Lassie in her prior start.

Trained by Armando de la Cerda and ridden by Pablo Morales, Happy to Go paid $4.80. She was timed in 1:10.45 following splits of 22.37 and 45.68.