Dual Grade 1-winner Mind Control will make his long awaited return to racing action in Saturday's Grade 3, $150,000 Toboggan at Aqueduct Racetrack, according to trainer Greg Sacco.
Owned by Red Oak Stable in partnership with Sol Kumin and Jason Monteleone's Madaket Stables, the newly-turned 4-year-old son of Stay Thirsty has not raced since a narrow nose victory over Hog Creek Hustle and highly regarded Shancelot in the Grade 1 H. Allen Jerkens on August 24 at Saratoga.
During his 2-year-old campaign, Mind Control provided Sacco with his first Grade 1 victory as a conditioner when taking the Grade 1 Hopeful at the Spa.
Mind Control has progressed on the comeback trail with a series of works over the Belmont Park training track, most recently breezing a half-mile from the gate in 48.01 seconds on Saturday morning.
“He's doing super,” Sacco said. “He had his final work on Saturday. It was a breeze from the gate. All of his works leading up have been right on target. He couldn't be doing any better. He spent some time at the farm in Ocala after the Allen Jerkens which was by design and he came back a lot stronger and broader. Hopefully we have a nice 4-year-old this year.”
Sacco said the Grade 1, $400,000 Carter Handicap on April 4 at the Big A is a long-term goal for Mind Control.
“The Carter would be the main goal with maybe the [$125,000] Stymie [on March 7] in between,” Sacco said.
A Kentucky homebred, Mind Control is out of the stakes-winning Lightnin N Thunder broodmare Feel That Fire, who is a half-sister to stakes winner King for a Day.
Also on the comeback trail from the Sacco barn is stakes winner Joevia, who has not raced since finishing third in the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets on June 8.
Owned by Michael and Jeff Fazio, the son of Shanghai Bobby also breezed from the gate on Saturday morning over the Belmont training track, recording a half-mile in 47.47 seconds, which was the second fastest of 107 recorded works at the distance.
Joevia, who captured the Long Branch at Monmouth Park in May, is targeting a return in an allowance event on Friday at the Big A.
“He's training really well and we'll put him in the entry box for Friday,” Sacco said. “He does well over the winter here. He went to Ocala for a break as well and he's really come back strong and happy. He's right on schedule for Friday.”
Bred in Kentucky by Ikhana Farm, Joevia is out of the unraced War Front broodmare Peace Process and was purchased for $32,000 from the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale in April 2018.
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