First-crop 3-year-olds by MISSION IMPAZIBLE broke their maidens by daylight margins at Parx Racing and Aqueduct on February 6 and 10 respectively, as favored SHIPTHEGRIP beat eight rivals going a mile and 70 yards, followed by odds-on MISSION LEADER, who romped by six lengths among seven going six furlongs. These two were the ninth and tenth winners from the first crop of multiple Grade 2-winning millionaire Mission Impazible, who had been a promising graded-placed juvenile winner prior to maturing into a two-turn standout in his subsequent seasons.
Shipthegrip, who races for owner-trainer Marya Montoya, broke from the seventh post at Parx and trailed in fifth place on the outside before “easily” going to the front with a quarter-mile to go, after which he gained a multiple-length lead and cruised home to win by almost two lengths. Mission Leader, who races for Paul Braverman and Namcook Stables, broke on top from the outside post at Big A and trailed the pacesetting runner-up (and 3.10-to-1 second choice) by more than five lengths while racing in fourth place in the early going. He circled the leaders on the turn, angled six-wide into the upper stretch, and then rallied to the front and drew clear under a hand ride.
Shipthegrip is the second son of Mission Impazible to win at a mile and 70 yards. Mission Leader is the fifth of Mission Impazible’s winners to score at six furlongs (one of which tallied on turf at that distance), following multiple stakes-placed ETHAN HUNT ($120,545) at Aqueduct on January 27.
By Rab Hagin