Red Oak Stable and Madaket Stables' Mind Control proved his connections prophetic, posting a 1 ¼-length victory in Saturday's Grade 3, $250,000 Bay Shore at seven furlongs under Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez.
The Gregory Sacco trainee won the Grade 1 Hopeful in September at Saratoga, putting him on an early potential Derby trail, which was bolstered when he won the one-mile Jerome on January 1 at Aqueduct.
But following a runner-up finish in the Grade 3 Gotham, a Derby prep, Sacco and the owners decided to return Mind Control to a sprint instead of targeting the 1 1/8-mile Wood Memorial, and the Stay Thirsty colt responded by earning a 97 Beyer for the Bay Shore win.
“He was really powerful yesterday and ran a nice race,” Sacco said. “Going back to the Gotham, he was able to rate, so that's in our favor with these races. Moving forward, I think it'll be to his advantage where he can stalk horses. He's a pro. You can't train heart in a horse, and he has that and a tremendous amount of ability.”
Sacco said Mind Control is still on target for the seven-furlong Grade 1, $400,000 Woody Stephens on June 8, Belmont Stakes Day, at Belmont Park. The conditioner said he is not expecting to run Mind Control in another race before that date.
Joevia came out of his eventful Wood Memorial in good order. The Shanghai Bobby colt, breaking from the outermost post, veered to the far left out of the gate as jockey Nik Juarez tried to correct his path.
Joevia, owned by Michael and Jeff Fazio, ended up leading the 11-horse field through the quarter-mile before Not That Brady ran ahead by the half-mile mark. Joevia finished the race seventh but was disqualified and placed last for interference stemming from the start.
“Out of the gate, my instructions to Nik were to come off the pace and I was shocked. He tapped him leaving there and couldn't get him back. He made a mistake and it's just unfortunate because I think the race he would have run would have been different had he not rushed off his feet leaving the gate there,” Sacco said. “It was just a little bizarre, I don't think Nik expected that. Then, he was committed. Joevia actually hung in there pretty good despite all of that. It was just unfortunate that he sawed off the field and a lot of horses were compromised by that. By no means was that intentional.
“It was just one of those things where [Juarez] tapped him leaving there and he got away from him. It was just disaster from there,” continued Sacco. “I felt bad for the other horses who were compromised going into the first turn. It's tough, this horse isn't that experienced. Watching it unfold was actually painful.”
Sacco said he had no immediate plans yet for Joevia, but he could return in about six weeks.
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