Commanding respect merely for running in the Breeders' Cup last time, Flash of Mischief heaped praise Saturday that comes only with a big stakes performance.
Texan Jerry Namy's homebred 4-year-old by supersire Into Mischief got off the rail when the opportunity permitted and drew off by 7 3/4 lengths in the inaugural running of the $150,000 Ring the Bell for 3-year-olds and up. Ninth in the BC Sprint Nov. 5 at Keeneland, Flash of Mischief ran third going long in the Poinsettia here last December behind Last Samurai, the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap winner in April. Delta Mile winner and Grade 3 Oklahoma Derby runner-up before that, the bay colt won the David Vance at Remington Park in August, a race that the retired sprinter Ivanfallunovalot won multiple times for Bismarck owner Lewis Mathews.
Ivan, for short, rests at Old Friends in Kentucky. Oaklawn trainer Ron Moquett launched the Ring a Bell program at his home track for aftercare of retired local performers, among them his own Whitmore, the 2020 male champion sprinter and BC Sprint winner. Donations are recognized by ringing of a large bell in the rear of the Larry Snyder Winner's Circle. Flash of Mischief visited that enclosure for the first time Saturday after six furlongs in 1:11.13 under Cristian Torres.
Kavod, Oaklawn's inaugural Advent winner last year, finished second for Chris Hartman and Chattalot third for Steve Asmussen in the Ring a Bell. Hall of Famer Asmussen, ever one to take out insurance, no matter the purse, placed fourth with 2021 Oaklawn King Cotton winner Boldor, who needs more pace in front than he got Saturday.
Kavod and Chattalot had something brewing early, the Hartman trainee getting the opening quarter in 22.47 seconds. That was before Faith of Mischief reduced them to supporting players, the half in 46.25, for Torres, who later won the $150,000 Mistletoe for Robertino Diodoro to cap a personal four-bagger.
Flash of Mischief, second on the morning line at 7-2, ruled the 3-2 favorite at post time, paying $5, $3 and $2.80. Carrying 124 pounds, the Kentucky-bred colt improved to 9-5-2 from 23 starts with career earnings of more than $770,000 for his Fort Worth owner. Farther back was Long Range Toddy, Oaklawn's 2019 Grade 2 first division winner with a ride that rates with one of Jon Court's best efforts.
A horse that can switch distances like Flash of Mischief has many options. At Remington in August, he ran second in the Governor's Cup to Rated R Superstar, a stakes winner here last spring for Oklahoma owner Danny Caldwell and preparing for his 10-year-old campaign.
Tyler's Tribe: As feared when he gave way in the stretch of the Advent, Tyler's Tribe had a second bleeding episode in the race, hence a 30-day break for the Sharp Azteca gelding, trainer Tim Martin said Saturday.
A four-time stakes winner in his native Iowa and 2-5 favorite on opening day at Oaklawn, Tyler's Tribe turned for home in front under Kylee Jordan before slowing late to finish third, 3 1/2 lengths behind unbeaten Count de Monet.
"Bled a little bit yesterday," said Martin, who races Tyler's Tribe in partnership with Iowan Thomas Lepic. "He's out for a little while, for sure."
Tyler's Tribe raced on Lasix his first five races -- all blowout victories at Prairie Meadows -- before eased and vanned off in the G1 $1 million BC Juvenile Turf Sprint Nov. 4 at Keeneland, in which anti-bleeder medication was prohibited. With Lasix permitted in Arkansas, Tyler's Tribe returned in Friday's dirt sprint.
"It wasn't nothing like the Breeders' Cup," Martin said. "He was looking pretty good and whenever he stopped, I was like, 'Uh, oh,' something happened. When she pulled him up, he had blood in his nose."
As for what's ahead, "I'm going to let him be a horse," at the trainer's nearby Royal Training Center. "I'll probably give him a month ... and then just see where's he's at and see what's going on. I've got some therapy that's pretty good for that (bleeding), I think we'll work on."
The $150,000 Bachelor Stakes for 3-year-old sprinters April 29 at Oaklawn might come into play, Martin said. Tyler's Tribe raced Friday, he said, after a clean endoscopic test following a Dec. 10 local workout, his second over the track, and scoping clean following each breeze.
"No sign, no nothing," Martin said, referring to blood. "I wanted to take advantage of the Lasix, but that didn't work."
Tyler's Tribe won his first five starts by a combined 59 3/4 front-running lengths. A lesser number was reported in Saturday's edition.