A three-time graded stakes winner entering Saturday’s $151,500 Toboggan (G3) at Aqueduct, Mind Control earned a fourth in the 7-furlong dash, but it wasn’t easy as the 4-year-old clung to victory by a desperate nose in a three-way photo.
Making his first start since taking the H. Allen Jerkens (G1) in August by a nose and his first start outside his age group, Mind Control pressed the front-running Still Having Fun through fractions of :23.64 and :46.76, poked his head in front at the furlong pole, and dug in gamely to the wire under John Velazquez. The final time was 1:24.23 over a fast track.
“The only thing; he started to wait on the horses coming down the stretch, and I had to get him focused again to pay attention,” Velazquez said. “I had to hit him left-handed, but I also didn’t want to foul anyone and at the same time I wanted him to see the horses to his outside. Once he did, he got competitive right away.”
Owned by Red Oak Stable and Madaket Stable, Mind Control paid $4.30 as the favorite in a field of seven. Nicodemus edged Sunny Ridge by a nose for second. The order of finish was rounded out by American Anthem, Still Having Fun, T Loves a Fight, and Bon Raison.
“He was coming off the layoff, but he was ready to run,” said trainer Gregg Sacco, who said the colt would be pointed toward the Carter H. (G1) over the same track and trip in April. “He ran to his training and showed the true guts and determination he shows in all of his races.”
In addition to the Toboggan and Jerkens, Mind Control also scored wins in the 2018 Hopeful (G1) in the Bay Shore (G3) and Jerome S. last season. He also placed last term in the Concern S. at Laurel, which he lost by a neck after a troubled, traffic-filled stretch run. He’s now earned $887,500 from a line of 11-6-2-1.
Bred in Kentucky by Red Oak, Mind Control is by Stay Thirsty and out of the stakes-winning Feel That Fire, by Lightnin N Thunder.