Mind Your Biscuits Wears The Target In Belmont Sprint Championship

by | 07.04.2017 | 6:55pm
Mind Your Biscuits in the 2017 Dubai Golden Shaheen

Multiple Grade 1 hero Mind Your Biscuits is all set to make his first U.S. start since his impressive three-length victory in the March 25 Dubai Golden Shaheen as the anticipated favorite on Saturday when he heads a salty field of seven in the Grade 2, $350,000 Belmont Sprint Championship for 3-year-olds and up at seven furlongs at Belmont Park.

The 4-year-old New York-bred by Posse is expected to attract heavy backing in the Belmont Sprint, carrying an all-fees-paid berth into the TwinSpires Breeders' Cup Sprint, where he will be joined by graded stakes winners Green Gratto, Stallwalkin' Dude, Tommy Macho and the Jimmy Jerkens-trained Unified, who held off Mind Your Biscuits with a neck victory in the Grade 3 Gulfstream Park Sprint in February.

“It's going to be a solid race,” said trainer Chad Summers, who took over the conditioning duties of Mind Your Biscuit in the winter. “It's a 'Win and You're In' race for the Breeders' Cup and everyone wants to get to the Breeders' Cup. Jimmy Jerkens is one of the best trainers in the country, and you have to respect Green Gratto and all the rest of them, but right now, 'Biscuits' is in his prime. He's going to be really tough to beat.”

Mind Your Biscuits has finished off-the-board only twice in his 15-race career and boasts triple-digit Beyer Speed Figures for his last four domestic starts, including a personal-best 107 Beyer Speed Figure for his half-length win in the Grade 1 Malibu to close out his sophomore campaign last December.

Following the Malibu, Mind Your Biscuits faced his first test of the year in the 6 ½-furlong Sprint at Gulfstream on February 25, where he came up a neck short of the front-running Unified, who was making his first start in more than eight months. Mind Your Biscuits got his big breakthrough in the six-furlong Golden Shaheen Meydan Racecourse, overcoming the far outside post 14 and wide run throughout to draw well clear under the wire.

The late-running Mind Your Biscuits will be ridden by Joel Rosario, who owns four wins and four seconds in eight starts aboard the colt, including last year's Breeder's Cup Sprint, where he was third across the wire, 1 1/4 lengths behind Drefong, but was elevated to second-place honors following the disqualification of Masochistic.

“Every time we've set a goal for this horse, he's just run right through it,” said Summers. “We've been pointing for this race since Dubai, so we're expecting a big effort. This is a really solid group and we're going in there ready for action. There's not another horse in the entire country – including Arrogate – that I'd rather go to war with.”

“Joel knows him like the back of his hand and Biscuits takes care of himself,” he added. “He worked last week and he went 57, but he's able to come back this week and work a half in 51. There aren't a lot of horses that can do that. Usually, when you're fast, you're fast, but he's able to ease off the throttle. He'll do whatever Joel wants. He listens to the rider.”

Mind Your Biscuits and Rosario will break from post 2.

Unified, a 4-year-old colt by Candy Ride, will be making his third start of the year and first since finishing a neck behind Green Gratto the Grade 1 Carter Handicap on April 8 at Aqueduct Racetrack. Unified started his career on a three-race win streak, including victories in the Grade 3 Bay Shore and Grade 2 Peter Pan, before being turned out following his unsuccessful two-turn debut in the Grade 3 Pegasus that summer.

“I feel good coming in,” said Jerkens. “It's a very tough spot. Seven [furlongs] is tough. You've got to be running the whole way, especially with his style. Mind Your Biscuits is one of the best horses I've seen in a long time and you know he's going to be coming. But you've got to run to see where you're at.”

Unified will be ridden by Jose Ortiz from the outside post.

Mark Casse trainee Awesome Slew will be cutting back in distance following his fourth-place finish in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap. This spring, the 4-year-old colt by Awesome Again has posted a 1 ½-length victory in the Grade 3 Commonwealth at Keeneland and a game runner-up effort in the Grade 2 Churchill Downs on the Kentucky Derby undercard, both at seven furlongs.

“He's had decent luck going seven-eighths,” said Casse. “I think he got back a little farther than we would've liked in the Met Mile but we're hoping he's a little sharper for this. He's come back great and he's been training really well. I think this is a good spot for him. Obviously, when you go shorter, there's more pace and last time at the mile, I think it went a little slow, so we're hoping for a little better set-up.”

Rounding out for the field are Stallwalkin' Dude, who earned a career-best 105 Beyer Speed Figure for his second-place finish in the Grade 2 True North on June 9 for trainer David Jacobson; Green Gratto, looking to bounce back following a fifth-place finish in the True North for the Gaston Grant barn; Todd Pletcher trainee Tommy Macho, a sharp 5 ¾-length winner of the Grade 3 Hal's Hope; and the multiple graded stakes-placed Fellowship, fourth last time out in the True North for trainer Kenneth Decker.

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