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Chess Chief closes out 2021 with Tenacious S. win

December 27, 2021

Into Mischief’s graded stakes winner Chess Chief won a thrilling renewal of the $100,000 Tenacious S. on Dec. 26 at Fair Grounds, overcoming traffic trouble on the turn to best Happy American by a nose in a driving finish.

The 5-year-old won the New Orleans Classic (G2) over this same track in late March, and has been facing the nation’s top horses most of the year. Sunday’s win upped his record to 5-4-4 in 30 starts, with earnings of $810,338.

With Pirate’s Punch setting solid fractions up front, Chess Chief was several lengths off the lead between horses for the first five furlongs. He was squeezed back and lost some ground on the final bend before switching to the four path coming into the stretch. The outcome was decided by the placing judges after Chess Chief and Happy American finished nearly on even terms.

Chess Chief got the 1 1/16-miles in 1:43.39, good for a career-best 95 Beyer Speed Figure.

“Couldn’t be a better place to win right here for the Coleman family,” trainer Dallas Stewart said. “Their father [the late James Coleman] was great about buying this horse, and he is here with us today. Chess Chief ran against the best and we kept trying to win a grade 1. Maybe we’ll do it next year, but we’re gonna try to clean up here first.”

Chess Chief runs in the Estate of Mr. Coleman, Jr. and was bred by Morgan’s Ford Farm. Through his third dam, Wing of Grace, he comes from the family of two-time Eclipse Award winner Soaring Softly.

With less than a week left in 2021, Into Mischief is just shy of a remarkable $25 million in progeny earnings. He will close out the year as the Leading General Sire for the third straight year.