2023 Kentucky Derby Contender Profile – Cyclone Mischief


Cyclone Mischief made the body of the Derby field following the defection of Practical Move on the Thursday prior to the Derby. He comes in as one of the more seasoned contenders in the field having made seven starts prior to the Kentucky Derby. This son of Into Mischief was well backed on debut and ran a game third, beaten less than a length, after helping set a brutal pace last September. He stretched out to two turns at Keeneland in his second start and coasted around the Lexington oval, rolling to a 5 1/4 length win. Cyclone Mischief then made his stakes debut in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes [G2], where he once again sat a forward trip and stuck around deep into the lane, but ultimately faded to 7th, beaten just under three lengths however.

No breaks were given leading into his sophomore campaign, as he made his seasonal debut on January 8th in allowance company. Rating effectively for the first time in his career, he pounced on the leaders of a tough allowance race going 1 mile at Gulfstream and drew off to a near 6 length score. Running second in that spot was the eventual Sam F. Davis Stakes [G3] winner, Litigate. Cyclone Mischief has dropped three straight stakes efforts over that same course since then. He was 7th, beaten 11 3/4 lengths, without any excuses in the Holy Bull [G3]. He was put back on the lead in the Fountain of Youth [G2] and moved back forward, running third although well beaten again. His last start came in the Florida Derby [G1], where he had to travel wide and off the pace, made a bold move on the turn, threatened through the lane, but was ultimately outfinished in that spot. Both of those last two losses came to Forte, as well as running behind Rocket Can and Mage.


It will be a tall task to win the Derby for Cyclone Mischief. Unlike last year’s shock winner who also drew in from the also eligible list, Cyclone Mischief’s strongest asset is his speed. That will be a big problem when having to deal with an outside post and he will have to expend a lot of energy to settle in good position early. He has proven a cut below in all four graded stakes starts and has been beaten on the spot in most of those events. While he has been forced a little wide at times, especially in that last start, it was not nearly enough to make him a player in this spot.

He will, however, have a great impact on how this race develops. Jace’s Road and Reincarnate were the clear speeds on paper and Cyclone Mischief could ramp that up a little. With the addition of this colt, I believe it fully eliminates any chance of either of those runners stepping out. I will also say that the presence of Cyclone Mischief is unlikely to aid the closers a whole lot more than the initial pace projection read from the post position draw. The pace will be quicker with him in, but still not enough to help the deepest off the pace types.

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Cyclone Mischief will look to finally give local legend, Dale Romans, his first win in the Run for the Roses. Romans only trails Steve Asmussen in most Kentucky Derby starters without a winner, having sent out 11 runners since 2006. His best finishes have come with Paddy O’Prado (2010) and Dullahan (2012), who both ran third in their years.

This profile will be updated as soon is its announced who will pilot Cyclone Mischief. Joel Rosario was listed at entry time, but he has the call on Disarm.

Cyclone Mischief does present the pedigree to get the Derby distance. He is by Into Mischief, who sired back-t0-back Derby winners in Authentic (2020) and Mandaloun (2021). His damsire is 2006 Preakness and Travers winner, Bernardini, and he is out of the mare Areyoucominghere. While she wasn’t much of a runner and hasn’t thrown anything big outside of Cyclone Mischief, she is a half-sister to 2016 Kentucky Derby [G1] 4th place finisher, Suddenbreakingnews.


It is very hard to make a case for Cyclone Mischief in the 2023 Kentucky Derby. He has yet to show any glimpse of Grade 1 quality and has losses with no excuses to quite a few other Derby contenders. His biggest impact will be enforcing a slightly quicker pace than initially expected, but it is very likely he will have called it quits by the time the quarter pole approaches.

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