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Into Mischief, Vino Rosso colts 1-2 in thrilling San Felipe (G2)

March 3, 2024

Into Mischief's Imagination (left) and Vino Rosso's Wine Me Up (right) duel to the wire in the San Felipe S. (G2) | Benoit photo

Into Mischief’s Imagination (left) and Vino Rosso’s Wine Me Up (right) duel to the wire in the San Felipe S. (G2) | Benoit photo

Rising 3-year-old colt Imagination was part of an incredible day for his 5-time General Leading Sire Into Mischief when he captured the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita Park March 3rd.

It was a winning stakes debut for Imagination, who had won a Maiden Special Weight impressively on New Years Day before coming back to finish a game second to his highly respected 3-year-old stablemate, Maymun.

Imagination showed marked development and improvement on the stretch out to the 1 1/16-mile distance in the San Felipe, wearing down his pace-setting stablemate Wine Me Up (by Vino Rosso) late in the contest.

The race wasn’t without incident. Imagination was bothered significantly heading into the first turn of the San Felipe when fellow rival Scatify proved to be hard to control early and bumped Imagination, clearly effecting the son of Into Mischief to the point of him becoming overly keen coming out of the first turn. Jockey Frankie Dettori had to take Imagination well off the rail down the backstretch in an attempt to settle the colt from running off with the lead.

Once Imagination was able to compose himself around the half-mile pole, he eased back towards the rail where he met a ground-saving Wine Me Up and the duel was on. The Baffert pair traveled heads up from the three-eighths pole to the wire, separating from the field for a clear two-horse race in the stretch. While the gritty G1-placed Wine Me Up continued to dig in, it was Imagination that kept grinding away relentlessly to prove best at the wire by a nose. The final time was 1:44.55, and both colts – which were inseparable again in the gallop out – earned a solid 96 Beyer for their performance.

Imagination is out of the Empire Maker mare Magical Feeling and was bred by Peter E. Blum Thoroughbreds. Campaigned by the “Avengers” – SF Racing, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables, Stonestreet Stables et al, the grand-looking colt was purchased for $1,050,000 as a yearling at the 2022 Keeneland September Sale. In 2020, the Avengers also won the San Felipe with another Into Mischief colt they had purchased at Keeneland September in 2018 from breeder Peter Blum. His name was Authentic, who would go on to win the Kentucky Derby (G1), Haskell (G1) and Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) over older horses on his way to becoming Horse of the Year.

“There is lots of potential in this horse,” said Tom Ryan of SF Bloodstock. “He’s just learning as he goes, and I think the further the better. He’s a classic colt. He’s always showed it, he looks it, and, thankfully, his ability matches his looks.”