Red Oak Stable and Madaket Stable's Mind Control relished a cut back in distance, striding to a 1 1/4-length triumph in the G3 Bay Shore Stakes at Aqueduct on Saturday. The 3-year-old son of Stay Thirsty paid $6.30 to defeat favorite Much Better, completing seven furlongs over the fast main track in 1:23.45. Mind Control was ridden by John Velazquez for trainer Greg Sacco.
“For whatever reason, he was even more focused on what he needed to do today than he was the last time [in the G3 Gotham],” said Velazquez. “He ran a good race last time, don't get me wrong. He came from way back and got through the inside. Today, he was more secure about himself. Everything he did today was first class.”
Breaking alertly from post 3 as the 2-1 second-choice with Hall of Famer John Velazquez in the irons, Mind Control stalked comfortably in third as 6-5 favorite Much Better led the four-horse field through fractions of 22.33 seconds for the opening quarter-mile with the half-mile in 45.14.
At the quarter-pole, Mind Control began his winning move hooking up with Much Better at the top the stretch. Set down and all out, the two jostled for the lead, with Mind Control taking command in the final furlong to win by 1 ¼ lengths.
He completed the seven-furlong distance in a final time of 1:23.45 on a fast main track.
“We know that horse [Much Better] is very fast,” said Velazquez. “I was surprised Jose [Ortiz, Mucho] tried to go with him the first eight of a mile, and then he took back. So I thought, let me be the one to put a little pressure on the horse in front and it worked out perfect. Once I got to him at the three-sixteenths pole, he put his head in front of him.”
Returning $6.30 for a $2 win wager, the son of Stay Thirsty bred by Red Oak Stable boosted his bankroll to $520,900 from six starts.
Mind Control was making his first start at seven furlongs since winning the Grade 1 Hopeful at Saratoga Race Course as a juvenile last summer. Following a win in the Jerome and a runner-up effort in the Gotham, the connections decided to vacate the Kentucky Derby trail and chose the Bay Shore over the Wood Memorial.
“My brother, Rick Sacco, is our racing manager and he thought that, in his development, that this race would be the right choice for him. My brother was right for once. Usually, I'm right,” joked winning trainer Gregory Sacco. “With all that being said, my brother realized how talented he is up to a mile, and they just didn't want to churn him up in the Derby fever. There was serious consideration for the Wood and to try and make it to the Derby, but he's just so talented at this distance. We pinpointed this race first, with the [Grade 1 $400,000] Woody Stephens [on June 8 at Belmont Park] in mind, so if he comes out of this race well and trains well, that will be our next target.”
Following Call Paul, who was 5 ¾ lengths back in third, was Mucho, who completed the order of finish. Mount Travers was scratched.
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