Cashing in on Cotillion: Is an Upset of Pretty Mischievous Looming?

With a victory in the $1 million Cotillion (G1) at Parx Racing on Saturday, Pretty Mischievous would move into position to join an exclusive group of 3-year-old fillies.

The Cotillion, first run in 1976, has been won by some fabulous fillies over the past two decades, including Ashado (2004), Havre de Grace (2010), Untapable (2014), Songbird (2016), and Midnight Bisou (2018).

Songbird, Untapable, and Ashado won the Cotillion and went on to become Eclipse Award winning 3-year-old fillies. Untapable and Ashado are the only horses to pull off the Cotillion-Breeders’ Cup Distaff double. The Grade 1 Distaff is Nov. 4 at Santa Anita.

Pretty Mischievous, out of Into Mischief-Pretty City Dancer, by Tapit, comes into the 1 1/16-mile Cotillion with Grade 1 wins in her last three starts, the Test at Saratoga (after Maple Leaf Mel broke down strides from the finish), the Acorn at Belmont Park, and Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs, the most prestigious of all 3-year-old filly races.

The 2-1 favorite in a field of nine, Pretty Mischievous will be ridden by Tyler Gaffalione out of post 3.

Among her top challengers are: Defining Purpose (4-1), winner of the Grade 1 Ashland, Grade 3 Indiana Oaks, and third in the Grade 1 Alabama; Hoosier Philly (6-1), a formidable foe looking for a first G1 win; and Occult (6-1), Monmouth Oaks (G3) winner and third in the Acorn.

The weather could play a huge role on Saturday, with a 98% chance of rain during the day and winds ranging from 20-30 mph, according to The Weather Channel.

Four of the nine fillies in the Cotillion have won over a sloppy track – Pretty Mischievous (at Churchill Downs in 2022), Majestic Creed (at Parx in 2022), Hoosier Philly (at Churchill in 2022), and Imonra (at Gulfstream Park in May).

“It’s certainly not what you’d want on a big day, is it?” Brendan Walsh, who trains Pretty Mischievous, said. “She’s run on a wet track before and won.” She won a 7-furlong allowance race in her second career start.

Thanks to Pretty Mischievous, along with 2022 Arlington Million (G1) winner Santin, Walsh is having the most successful year of his 13-year training career. He used to work for Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin operation and both of his top horses are owned by Godolphin.

Pretty Mischievous, who usually runs just off the leaders before making her move entering the stretch, has won seven of nine career starts, with a second and a third in the other two for earnings of $1,756,560. During her current three-race winning streak, she won the Test by a head, the Acorn by a head and the Kentucky Oaks by a neck.

“I was looking at her record the other day and it’s unbelievable,” Walsh, who also sends out 10-1 shot Gilmore in the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby (G1) late in the card, said. “It’s a testament to her. Look, you have to have the ammunition, but it is a testament to her. I haven’t had too many of them that have been able to keep it that consistent for that long. Generally, you hit some bump, or they’ll back up, something.

“She’s won seven of nine and the couple times she got beat she was second or third. It will be nice if we can pull it off again Saturday.”

Walsh left both horses at Saratoga to complete their training for Saturday’s big day in Pennsylvania.

“I was up there for a few days for her last couple of works. I just didn’t want to bring her all the way down (to Kentucky) and back up again for the race,’’ Walsh said. “She was doing so well up there. It made sense to leave her.”

“I’ve been very, very happy both times with what I’ve seen coming back there. She’s doing as good as maybe she’s done at any point in the year, which is remarkable considering she’s had a busy year, but it doesn’t surprise me. She’s just rock-solid.”

The picks: 1 Hoosier Philly 2 Pretty Mischievous 3 Imonra

The field for the $1 million Cotillion (G1), from the rail out, with jockey, trainer, odds:

1 Foggy Night (Robert Reid, Florent Geroux), 12-1
2 Ceiling Crusher (Doug O’Neill, Edwin Maldonado), 5-1
3 Pretty Mischievous (Brendan Walsh, Tyler Gaffalione), 2-1
4 Hoosier Philly (John Velazquez, Tom Amoss), 6-1
5 Occult (Irad Ortiz, Jr., Chad Brown), 6-1
6 Just Katherine (Jose Jiminez, Junior Alvarado), 12-1
7 Defining Purpose (Ken McPeek, Brian Hernandez, Jr.) 4-1
8 Imonra (Saffie Joseph, Jr., Tyler Conner), 10-1
9 Majestic Creed (Bobbi Hawthorne, Mychel Sanchez), 30-1


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