Michael Dubb and David Simon's Control Group took command out of the starting gate and never relinquished it in Saturday's G3 Discovery Handicap, earning his first stakes victory under jockey Joel Rosario. The 3-year-old son of Posse, trained by Rudy Rodriguez, covered nine furlongs over Aqueduct's fast main track in 1:52.83. Control Group, off as the 5-2 favorite, bested late-running Senior Investment by three lengths at the wire, and Bonus Points was third.
“We were thinking about running him in the Claiming Crown, but we didn't want to ruin him,” Rodriguez said. “You've got the New York-bred race coming up at the end of the year [the $100,000 Alex M. Robb on December 31], so that was the plan, even if we don't run over here, he still would run good fresh, and I thank Michael Dubb for the opportunity, and everything worked out good.”
Rosario sent Control Group out quickly from the jump, though he was joined in the earliest stages by True Timber into the clubhouse turn. After racing alongside True Timber for a sixteenth of a mile, Rosario let out a notch in his reins and let Control Group go out to a two-length lead. All alone on the front end, Control Group set steady fractions of :24.05, :48.52 and 1:13.29.
True Timber was followed by Speith and Can You Diggit nearly in unison, while Senior Investment and Bonus Points were well behind that pair, nearly 10 lengths off the leading Control Group.
Approaching the far turn, Rosario gradually began extending his lead aboard Control Group. Stretching to three, then four lengths at the head of the lane, Control Group's advantage proved insurmountable as his challengers failed to reel him in in the stretch.
Senior Investment made up a lot of ground to be second, splitting rivals around the far turn and closing with a long drive; Control Group was in front by three lengths at the wire. Bonus Points was just in front of Can You Diggit for third.
“I was just trying to stay where I was early and improve my position as it went,” Rosario said. “He handled everything fine. It looked like it was very easy for him.”
Bred in New York by Colts Neck Stable and Alan Goldberg, Control Group was originally a $27,000 weanling at the Fasig-Tipton New York Fall mixed sale. At the OBS June 2-year-old in training sale, the colt brought $15,000 from Gary Contessa, agent. He was claimed by Michael Dubb and Rodgriguez for $62,500 in his fifth start, and immediately broke his maiden in the following effort. Last out, Control Group was second in the restricted Empire Classic, and the Discovery is his first black-type victory. Overall, Control Group's record stands at 5-3-3 from 13 starts, with earnings of over $320,000.
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