Red Oak Stable and Madaket Stables' Mind Control posted an upset in Saratoga's Grade 1 Hopeful as a 2-year-old, and now the sophomore son of Stay Thirsty has another upset win at the Spa on his resume with a 10-1 shocker in Saturday's G1 H. Allen Jerkens. Sitting in a perfect tracking position in third behind 1-5 favorite and undefeated Shancelot, Mind Control and John Velazquez timed their rally perfectly to hit the wire a nose in front of late-rallying Hog Creek Hustle, also at 10-1. Shancelot was defeated a head into third, and Rowayton finished a neck back in fourth.
Trained by Greg Sacco, Mind Control ran seven furlongs over the fast main track in 1:21.43.
“I really didn't know if I had (won the photo),” said Velazquez. “I got beat twice on the wire here, and I didn't want to jinx myself. [Greg] asked me, and I said, 'I don't think I got it. [But] let's see what happens.'”
Making just his fourth career start, the undefeated Shancelot was the heavy favorite in the H. Allen Jerkens, so much so that none of the eight other sophomores had single-digit odds. Emisael Jaramillo tried to manage the colt's speed out of the starting gate and was able to rate him through a first quarter in 23.15 seconds, while Call Paul and Mind Control were about a length behind down the backstretch.
Meanwhile, eventual runner-up Hog Creek Hustle was second-last in the early going.
Shancelot maintained his advantage through a half in :45.58, and had a two-length lead as he straightened into the stretch. The colt looked strong until the final eighth of a mile, when Mind Control, Rowayton and Hog Creek Hustle all came rallying down the center of the course together.
Mind Control and Velazquez got the best of the four-way photo in a blanket finish, nosing out Hog Creek Hustle for the win. Shancelot had to settle for third, while Rowayton was a slightly unlucky fourth.
“I didn't know it was his nose there on the wire,” Sacco said. “I was saying a couple of prayers, and I was hoping. But he's a tough, tough horse.”
Bred in Kentucky by co-owner Red Oak Stable, Mind Control is out of the stakes-winning Lightnin N Thunder mare Feel That Fire. The colt broke his maiden at second asking and won the G1 Hopeful in just his third career start, but finished a disappointing seventh in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. Briefly on the Derby trail this year with a win in the Jerome and second in the G3 Withers, Mind Control was dropped back into sprint company to win the G3 Bay Shore.
Mind Control had difficult trips in the G1 Woody Stephens and the Concern, but Sacco never lost confidence in his colt. The Jerkens win improves his overall resume to five wins from 10 starts for earnings of over $800,000.
“Wow. It was a great performance,” said Sacco. “His last two trips were so brutal. The Woody Stephens [June 8] was a nightmare. My brother picked out a great spot for him in Maryland [third in the Grade 3 Concern on July 14] and it wasn't really a step down. He wanted the six weeks and he thought the [Grade 2] Amsterdam would be a tough heat and it turned out to be an unbelievable heat, and he didn't want a month back. This was the race we were pointing for since the Woody, all summer. We wanted him in peak performance. He's gutsy horse. I can't say enough about him and about my staff and the way they prepared him.”
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