This is a good place to once again highlight the shortcomings of nick ratings, and why a bad or non-existent nick rating might not tell the whole story with a particular mating. In the case of the Animal Kingdom mare Animalistic, TrueNicks does not give a rating for her match with the unbeaten 2YO Maximus Mischief (looking at the cross of Harlan’s Holiday/Candy Stripes). But delving more deeply into the successes of a broader version of this nick gives us confidence that the pairing will be successful.
Before starting to look at that, let’s first identify why Maximus Mischief was popular enough to attract 196 mares during his first season at stud in 2020. He is a son of the current leading general sire and leading sire of 2YOs Into Mischief, who has now topped the juvenile list three years straight, and been leading sire two years in a row. His 2018 2YO title came with Maximus Mischief as his leading earner while unbeaten in 3 starts: a 5-1/2 furlong maiden special weight, a 7 furlong allowance, and then the 1-1/8 mile Remsen Stakes-G2 over the likes of Tax and Bourbon War, by a combined total of 17 lengths. Maximus Mischief ran Beyer Speed Figures of 97 and 98, making him the fastest 2YO of his crop by that measure, and the fastest 2YO ever by Into Mischief (still the case). Maximus Mischief is out of a half-sister to Grade 1-winning 2YO Secret Compass (also by a Storm Cat-line sire), and was a $165,000 weanling purchase-turned $340,000 2YO in-training. Physically, Maximus Mischief is a very tall, but very well-balanced and athletic individual who showed incredible quickness for his size (watch the replay of his debut, when he’s in front by 2 lengths about two strides out of the gate).
Animalistic is also a big, strapping mare, and her first foal was similarly tall and leggy, so this is a great case of like-to-like. And even though her sire and dam were both highly accomplished on both turf and dirt, Animalistic herself scored both her victories on dirt and actually hit the board in 9 of 12 dirt tries — but failed to finish in the top 3 in any of her three turf tries. So we’re excited at the possibility of trying her with a strictly dirt sire after going to more versatile and/or turfy options her first two years.
As far as the pedigree cross for this prospective foal, Animalistic is a half-sister to a winner by the Storm Cat son Giant’s Causeway (Maximus Mischief being a Storm Cat-line stallion as well), and there is also a multiple stakes winner under Animalistic’s second dam by Giant’s Causeway’s son Aragorn. Animalistic is also a half-sister to the stakes-placed winner Miss Dolce by Unbridled’s Song, and Maximus Mischief is out of a mare by a son of Unbridled’s Song. So that all bodes well, we think.
Now, that “no rating” on the nick. First of all, there is an Argentinian G1 winner plus four additional black-type placed horses on their rated cross, from just 14 starters — so that’s not really a “0-fer” by any means. And looking at the Harlan’s Holiday sire-line with Blushing Groom-line mares more broadly, we find that Into Mischief is the sire of graded winner One Liner out of a daughter of Cherokee Run and Eclipse Champion Gamine out of a daughter of Cherokee Run’s son Kafwain. Plus Into Mischief’s son Goldencents is the sire of multiple graded winner Wildman Jack out of an Orientate mare, and Orientate is also the broodmare sire of Eclipse Champion Shanghai Bobby by Into Mischief’s sire Harlan’s Holiday. So several sires from the Harlan’s Holiday sire-line have had success with mare mares by several different sires from the Blushing Groom line, even if this particular variation has not yet been tried enough to earn a rating.
We have every reason to hope, though, that this foal could be the one to put that nick on the map!
Maximus Mischief wins the G2 Remsen with a 97 Beyer