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Pyrenees Continues to Thrive, Earns Milestone for Sire

Cherie DeVaux was winning so often May 17 at Pimlico Race Course that she didn’t have a chance to celebrate.

By the time the trainer went through all of her post-race obligations, it was time for her to move on to the next race. 

First, it was Shotgun Hottie  in the Allaire du Pont Distaff Stakes, then the Hilltop Stakes with She Feels Pretty , and to cap off her first three-win day, a win in the Pimlico Special Stakes (G3) with Pyrenees .

“I don’t really know. … It’s just one of those things where you just have to let it set in. The prior two were heavy favorites,” DeVaux said. “So this was one that I was really interested in seeing how he was going to do and it’s just really special. … It takes a lot of team effort.”

Pyrenees, a son of five-time leading North American sire Into Mischief  , had a lot to overcome to get to the winner’s circle in Baltimore. With the win he became the 150th black-type stakes winner for his sire.

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Not only has the 4-year-old had to navigate his maturation and the growing pains that present its own set of challenges, but he also suffered a significant injury that caused him to miss almost his entire 3-year-old season. 

Since he returned in December, he broke his maiden and has been undefeated over four starts. 

“The first time he ran he double-barreled the jockey and sent him flying across the screen,” DeVaux said. “He really trained like you knew he had a lot in him but always hung back.

“We just regrouped with him and really that’s all that we did. He just forced us to give him the time.”

That time helped prepare him for the adversity he would face late Friday afternoon. The crawling pace didn’t help matters as the race saw fractional time of :24.80, :50.26, 1:15.57, and 1:39.79 for the 1 3/16-mile contest. 

Pyrenees sat off the lead for most of the first mile, starting just off the rail. Two lengths off the lead turning down the stretch, jockey Brian Hernandez Jr., who rode both the Kentucky Derby (G1) and Kentucky Oaks (G1) winners two weeks ago, swung Pyrenees out four wide.

Chasing down leaders Kingsbarns  and Harlocap , Pyrenees pulled even with the favored Kingsbarns as Harlocap began to fade and took the lead in the shadow of the wire. He stopped the clock at 1:57.73.

“As slow as they were going, I got a little worried around the second turn, because it stayed bunched up and we were kind of in a pocket,” said Hernandez. “We were just kind of waiting for something to kind of move. When (Royal Ship) died off a bit straightening out for home and Kingsbarns didn’t run away from him, he only opened up a like a length and a half on him, I was pretty confident in our horse being able to run him down.”

Pyrenees is a Blue Heaven Farm homebred and improves to 4-1-0 from eight starts with $321,716 in earnings. 

Twice he entered the sales ring and twice he was an RNA. 

Kingsbarns and Harlocap finished second and third, respectively. Pyrenees paid $12.20 for a $2 win ticket. 

Up next for Pyrenees is probably the June 29 Stephen Foster Stakes (G1) at Churchill Downs. But DeVaux cautioned that before plotting a plan for her suddenly hot pupil, she wants to make sure he is “doing as well as he can.”

More on Into Mischief’s Milestone

Blue Heaven Farm bred Pyrenees out of the graded stakes winner and multiple stakes producer Our Khrysty . The mare, by Newfoundland, is also the dam of grade 1 winner Grace Adler  (Curlin  ) and grade 2-placed winner Virginia Key (Distorted Humor). Our Khrysty is a half sister to grade 1 winner Bullsbay  (Tiznow).

Into Mischief now trails Gainesway’s multiple leading sire Tapit   by 11 lifetime Northern Hemisphere stakes winners.

The 19-year-old son of Harlan’s Holiday was represented by a second winner May 17 at Pimlico. Stakes-placed Point Dume  won a six-furlong allowance optional claiming race by half a length.

Into Mischief will be represented by four starters on the May 18 card at Pimlico, including Preakness Stakes (G1) contender Imagination , who is owned by partners SF Racing, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables, Stonestreet Stables, Dianne Bashor, Robert Masterson, Waves Edge Capital, Catherine Donovan, and Tom Ryan. He is trained by Bob Baffert.

The other starters include Three Diamonds Farm’s Atone  in the Dinner Party Stakes (G3T) being run as race 12; grade 1-placed colt Mirahmadi  (owned by all the same partners as Imagination but excluding Stonestreet) making his 2024 debut in a six-furlong allowance contest being run as race 3; and, Stonestreet Stables’ 3-year-old filly Barbtourage  in a five-furlong maiden special weight on the turf being run as race 5.

Video: Pimlico Special S. (G3)

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