Holiday Mischief wins John Bullit Stakes; Flower Spell wins Hoist Her Flag

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by Annise Montplaisir

The John Bullit Stakes was narrowed from a six-horse field to four after the scratches of Breezy Point and Evert. It was anyone’s guess who would show their supremacy and take the $40,000 purse. AZ Ridge attempted to seek revenge against Stachys, who defeated him by two and a half lengths in the Mystic Lake Mile. But it was the favorite Holiday Mischief, piloted by Canterbury’s leading rider Alex Canchari, who demonstrated his dominance over the one mile and 1/16 distance.

Holiday Mischief broke well and bided his time behind pace-setter AZ Ridge. Canchari rode out the race with an elusive strategy worthy of his horse’s namesake.

“I played it by the start and I saw he put pressure on me soon,” Canchari said. “So I just stayed on the rail, and waited for it and then I put myself in position so he couldn’t shut me out when he needed to.”

Holiday Mischief whizzed under the wire in a time of 1:44.890, granting glory to trainer Joe Offolter and ownership group Joe Offolter & Carter Thoroughbreds LLC. AZ Ridge finished second, followed by Stachys in third. Holiday Mischief, the wagering favorite, paid $4.00 to win.

Flower Spell, owned by Dare to Dream Stable LLC, Little Bear Racing Stables and trainer Ingrid Mason, was ridden to victory by renowned jockey Rosemary Homeister, Jr. in the $40,000 Hoist Her Flag Overnight Stakes.

Coming off a second place finish in the Chicago Handicap (Gr. 3) at Arlington Park, Flower Spell was tuned and ready. The pack broke well, with Flower Spell dropping back to second behind early leader Makinmymark. Rounding the far turn Janis’s Joy attempted a challenge along the rail.

“When the one horse started to come up the inside I thought oh shoot,” said Homeister. “When she felt that horse coming [Flower Spell] re-broke again. She’s a very game filly.”

Crossing the finish line in a time 1:10.94, Flower Spell edged out Janis’s Joy 3/4 of a length. Makinmymark finished third. As the prohibitive favorite, Flower Spell returned $3.40 to win. 

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