Multiple graded stakes winner Mind Your Biscuits registered his final work before a planned start in the Grade 1, $1.2 million Whitney at 1 1/8 miles on August 4.
With jockey Joel Rosario aboard, the strapping chestnut breezed a half-mile in 49.88 seconds over the main track listed as fast just before 9 a.m. Friday. Rosario, who will be aboard the 5-year-old son of Posse for the 14th time in his 23rd career start in the Whitney, sat chilly through an opening quarter-mile in 25 seconds which was followed by a second quarter in 24 4/5. Trainer Chad Summers said the work was everything he wanted heading into next week's race.
“It was a good work,” Summers said. “We're eight days out, so I wasn't looking for anything serious just to open up his lungs down the lane which is what we did. The time didn't matter, we'll just wait and see how the field takes shape now. The racing strategy will take over from here on out. He may gallop one day next week, he'll school in the gate, and school in the paddock, but this is the rest of it. The heavy lifting is done.”
The Whitney will be the first time the strong-closing Mind Your Biscuits will run further than a mile, which comes off his strong runner-up finish by a nose to Bee Jersey in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap on June 9. The added distance is something Summers said he has been wanting to try for a while and will now have the chance to answer any doubts.
“I feel good. There's a lot of people out there saying he can't do it, but maybe they know something I don't know,” Summers said. “Maybe they talked to Miss Cleo or something like that. He's never gone two turns before, so I don't know why he can't do it now. We'll find out next Saturday. Either we're right or wrong; that's what horse racing is about. We've got to keep it honest.”
Mind Your Biscuits kicked off 2018 with a near miss by a head as the runner-up against claiming company on February 9 at Gulfstream Park. His next start came in Dubai where he captured his second straight Group 1, $2 million Golden Shaheen after closing hard to win by a head on March 31 at Meydan. The victory put him over the top as the highest-earning New York-bred in history with $3,719,286. The Whitney was a race that Summers had on the map as early as January.
“If the Met Mile went how I thought the Met Mile would go, and he came out of it well, the Whitney was kind of the next logical step to see if he could stretch out,” he said. “The timing of the race to the Breeders' Cup is kind of perfect. The new ownership group [Shadai Farm] has been very supportive behind our decision to run him here. They're fine with him being a sprinter, but if he wins this race, to become a stallion I think to win Grade 1s and Group 1s at [different distances], there aren't a lot of horses in the last 20 or 30 years that can claim that they can do that.”
The Whitney winner will earn an all-fees-paid berth in the Breeders' Cup Classic as a “Win and You're In” qualifier. The $6 million race on November 3 at Churchill Downs was always part of the connections' plans, Summers said. With two third-place finishes in the 2016 and 2017 Breeders' Cup Sprint, respectively, the goal is to return and win in what would likely be the last start before being sent to stud in Japan at the end of the year.
“It all depends on the Whitney,” Summers said. “We've spent his entire career not ducking anybody, so were not going to start now. It will be all on him.”
The success Summers has had with his horse has taken him to six different racetracks across two continents since he took over training in early 2017. Mind Your Biscuits' career has given the young trainer plenty of memories and triumphs. With a limited amount of time left together, Summers said he is enjoying the time at hand.
“I just don't think about it really,” he said. “We know this is probably going to be his last year. I'll beg and plead my case to try and keep him in training one more year, but that decision will be up to Mr. Yoshida [of Shadai Farm] and his team in December. At the end of the day, [I have] appreciation for the horse and what he's meant.
“We came here as an underdog for so many years, and then we came last year with a big target on your back and things kind of changed,” he added. “Now there's the big question mark. Everybody wants to know, can he go that far or not? We're going to find out. There will be a lot of sleepless nights over the next eight days but we're used to it.”
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