MISSION IMPAZIBLE, leading Northeastern (and New York) first-crop sire in 2016, second-crop sire in 2017, and third-crop sire in 2018, got an additional boost in December by new 2-year-old stakes-winning third-crop daughters (and new six-figure-earners), FORGOTTEN HERO and ESPRESSO SHOT, at Aqueduct on December 15 and 29 respectively. Forgotten Hero, co-owned by trainer John Toscano Jr. and by her co-breeder, Charles E. Festa Jr., won the $150,000 New York Stallion Fifth Avenue Stakes over the 1-to-2 runner-up – a three-time stakes winner – for her second decisive victory over a heavy favorite in two starts. Espresso Shot, owned by NY Final Furlong Racing Stable and Maspeth Stable, romped by 3¼ lengths against nine rivals in the $100,600 East View Stakes after having placed second among 12 (at 20-to-1) in Aqueduct’s $100,000 Key Cents Stakes 36 days earlier.
With 2018 progeny earnings of $2,761,031 and cumulative offspring earnings of more than $5.2-million through 2018, Mission Impazible was the only top-15 North American-based third-crop sire of 2018 represented by fewer than 100 starters. Mission Impazible’s impressive first crop already has been surpassed in number of wins by his second crop, which includes 9½-length Saratoga Grade 2 winner PURE SILVER and recent (December 26) Trinidad stakes winner NUCLEAR POWER. His third crop of current just-turned 3-year-olds appears at this stage to be even further along than his first two crops.
The unbeaten (two-for-two) Forgotten Hero was the only starter among six in the six-furlong Fifth Avenue coming off only one previous outing – a 5½-length laugher against seven rivals, including the near even-money runner-up, 41 days earlier in a six-furlong $62,000 Aqueduct maiden special. Finishing second, third, and fourth in the Fifth Avenue were previous daylight-margin stakes winners at Aqueduct, Belmont, and Saratoga. Trainer and co-owner Toscano sensed Forgotten Hero was exceptional but was unaware of the extent: “The first time we breezed her, she looked like something special. From day one, she really showed a lot of ability. The second quarter (when Forgotten Hero overtook the odds-on front-runner following a 22.50 opening quarter over a still-wet ‘good’ track), she really took off like a shotgun. It was unbelievable. I didn’t think she was that good, but she really fooled me. She has a lot of talent.”
Winning jockey Michael Luzzi, who also had piloted Forgotten Hero in her debut victory, confirmed Toscano’s assessment and implied Forgotten Hero will get better: “I had a lot left heading for home. She’s still a little bit green; she looks around a little bit still. She’s got some improving to do.”
Espresso Shot, the youngest among ten in the one-turn mile East View (foaled April 28, 2016, and the only East View starter foaled after March), advanced four-wide from sixth place out of the seventh post under a “confident ride” by jockey Eric Cancel over the muddy going. At the quarter pole she was head-and-head with the eventual runner-up pacesetter, and by mid-stretch she was two lengths in front and drawing away. Her favored rival that had won Aqueduct’s six-furlong Key Cents Stakes over closing runner-up Espresso Shot on November 23 tried to match strides with the frontrunner but faded after Espresso Shot overtook them both in the upper stretch.
Winning jockey Cancel, who has ridden Espresso Shot in the filly’s last two outings, was effusive in his praise: “The filly was just dragging me all the way…as soon as I asked her and let her go, she opened up on the field. I think she appreciates going a mile (Espresso Shot had won a 1 1/16-mile Belmont maiden special by 2½ lengths in September). She likes to be up close going long…”
In between the December Aqueduct stakes wins by Forgotten Hero and Espresso Shot, a 3-year-old daughter of Mission Impazible, previously-mentioned Nuclear Power, won Trinidad’s Group 1 NLCB Gold Cup at Santa Rosa Park on December 26 over seven rivals that included three champions (one two-time Horse of the Year). Owned by Shivam Maharaj, Kentucky-bred Nuclear Power faced mostly older males in the 2,000-meter (about 1¼ miles) Gold Cup on dirt and has won or placed in all six of her starts, including a Group 3 sprint, since winning her career debut at Santa Rosa last February. She reportedly is the first filly to win the Gold Cup – Trinidad’s most prestigious racing event – in 17 years.
Two talented sons from Mission Impazible’s second crop are COLLECTIVE EFFORT ($184,195) and SPECTACULAR KID ($141,370), who each have placed in four black type stakes – three on dirt plus Belmont’s 2018 seven-furlong New York Stallion Spectacular Bid on turf, where they finished second and third behind a stakes record 1:21.07. Collective Effort races for Loudmouth Racing, LLC, Dark Horse Racing Stable and Madaket Stables LLC; Spectacular Kid campaigns for Alex Kazdan. Another standout from that crop is Mission Impazible’s 2018 stakes-placed daughter, STARLITE MISSION ($213,543), who won a $62,000 Belmont maiden special mile in front-running fashion in July and captured a six-furlong $67,504 Aqueduct allowance from off the pace (and at odds-on) on December 14. Starlite Mission, who in her career stakes debut as a 3-year-old placed second among 11 (behind a near 1-to-2 older multiple graded-winning millionaire) in Aqueduct’s $130,563 New York Stallion Staten Island Stakes at seven furlongs in November, races for John L. Moirano, Monty Foss, Pines Stables and Bob Chimienti.
Mission Impazible’s other 2018 allowance winners since August, all 3-year-olds, listed chronologically:
TROFFISSIO, racing for Wanda Polisseni’s My Purple Haze Stables, she won second and third career starts in July and August – both at six furlongs on dirt – by 4¼ lengths against 11 at Belmont and by open margin on sloppy track in open Finger Lakes allowance feature against seven, including older rivals.
SHE’S DELIGHTFUL ($132,858), multiple allowance winner in 2018 for William J. Terrill’s Our Sugar Bear Stable LLC, she scored by six lengths in six-furlong $67,353 Belmont allowance for fillies and mares on dirt in September for her third open-margin victory in less than a year.
BARELY IMPAZIBLE, he became a six-figure-earner in four starts for Doubledown Stables, Inc., winning a 6½-furlong $64,614 Belmont allowance for 3-year-olds and up by 4½ lengths in September at odds-on as that contest’s youngest starter; has two multiple-margin wins and two seconds in four career outings.
BEN Z ROLLS, homebred black type stakes winner in June of 2018 for Joseph L. Maloney Racing, he scored second victory of 2018 and fourth career tally in a six-furlong Finger Lakes open allowance in October, in which he was the only 3-year-old competing and won by a length and a half.
ANYTHING PAZIBLE, three-time winner in 2018 has scored on fast and wet tracks, he won six-furlong open allowance feature for 3-year-olds and up at Finger Lakes for owner-trainer Carlos V. Dominguez in November, overtaking odds-on runner-up son of $125,000-fee sire at equal weights following slow start.
Mission Impazible’s other winners since July 2018, listed chronologically:
MISS JEN, 3-year-old filly of 2018 racing for Anthony M. Perri, winner on dirt and turf, won $55,200 turf mile contest at Belmont by open margin in 1:33.64 in July.
MY MISSION, completed 1-2 exacta for Mission Impazible fillies going six furlongs at Finger Lakes in July; had four consecutive wins for breeder Twin Creeks Racing Stables, LLC and co-owner Quarter Pole Club.
MISS IMPAZIBLE, 3-year-old filly scored wins 16 days apart in July and August (as youngest) going mile and 70 yards at Penn National for Carguys Racing LLC – both times odds-on, by multiple-length margins.
HOKULEA, May-foaled 3-year-old racing for Susan Moulton, he won in 2018 on Belmont turf (seven furlongs in 1:22.65) and Saratoga dirt (six furlongs) in August, becoming six-figure-earner in December.
MSMISSIONCOMPLETE, 3-year-old filly won three times at six furlongs on dirt in 2018 for Morris E. Kernan Jr., including $34,970 contest at Parx Racing as the favorite in September.
MISSIMPAZI, 3-year-old filly romped by 7½ lengths at odds-on going 5½ furlongs at Finger Lakes for owner-breeder Wanda Polisseni’s My Purple Haze Stables in September, scoring second victory of 2018.
HARDLY MATE, Maxis Stable’s 2018 Aqueduct turf allowance winner became six-figure-earning filly by closing from ninth place to beat ten rivals in grass mile contest (in 1:35.71) at Indiana Grand in October.
AMERICAN MISSION, May-foaled 3-year-old filly was sire’s second Indiana Grand winner in two days in October, winning at 5½ furlongs on dirt for Marvin A. Johnson (trainer), Gene McCloud, Gene Penrose.
ARMY GREY, he scored four wins for Robert D. Bone by multiple margins totaling 16 lengths at Laurel and Delaware Parks in 79-day span from late July to mid-October 2018 – the last two under top weight.
DANIELLE’S PRIDE, she won on Saratoga dirt (1 1/8 miles) in August and on Belmont turf (top-weighted against ten rivals at a mile) in October, becoming six-figure-earner for Youngs Racing Stable.
ROGUE NATION, 3-year-old won his second and third starts in 2018 on dirt for E.V. Racing Stable and trainer/co-owner Rudy Rodriguez – at Belmont by 5¼ lengths, at Aqueduct by four lengths in November.
CUMBER, 3-year-old Oaklawn Park maiden-breaker in 2018, he came off six-week layoff to win 2019 debut by 3½ lengths against ten at 5½ furlongs on Mahoning Valley dirt for Gerald Silver on January 9.
WHO’S DRIVING, he won six-furlong sprints four weeks apart at Parx (December 17, January 14) by open margins in second and third career starts – the latter for Pat and Ron Scorese as a just-turned 3-year-old.
Mission Impazible’s maiden-breakers since late June of 2018, listed chronologically, included:
EIGHT OAKS, she won at Belmont for NY Final Furlong Racing Stable, breeders Tammy/Anthony Cabrera.
ICY LADY, juvenile filly won Delaware Park maiden special debut by 2½ lengths for Old Coach Farm, July.
SINGLE MISSION, homebred filly won by six at Delaware Park for Twin Creeks Racing Stables, August.
RUNNIN FOR DACE, 3-year-old won by 3¼ against eight for DB DOJO LLC, Presque Isle Downs, October.
SMOKIN PLATINUM, Thomas Arndt’s 3-year-old won Belmont dirt maiden special (6F 1:09.63), October.
AMBITION MISSION, Balmoral Racing Stable’s 3-year-old won at Delaware Park, 1 1/16 miles, October.
MISSION GOOD KARMA, she won by 2¼ for owner-trainer Chuck Spina at Penn National, November.
PAZ THE WINE, she beat ten by 2¼ going six furlongs at Laurel for High Five Racing Stable, November.
INFATUATION, Twin Creeks Racing Stables’ homebred juvenile filly won debut at Aqueduct, November.