Mind Control makes season debut in G1 Carter Handicap

OZONE PARK, NY – Red Oak Stable and Madaket Stables multiple tiered stakes winners mind control will kick off its 6-year campaign in the Grade 1, $300,000 Carter Handicap presented by NYRA Bets on the Wood Memorial Day card April 9th ​​at Aqueduct Racetrack.

The Carter, a seven-mile sprint for older horses, is the first Grade 1 of 2022 at the NYRA circuit. The busy day will be headlined by the Grade 2, $750,000 Wood Memorial presented by Resorts World Casino, which will offer the top four finishers 100-40-20-10 qualifying points into the Kentucky Derby.

The Wood Memorial Day card is bolstered by a trio of Class 3 races, including the $250,000 nine-stay Gazelle for sophomore fillies, offering 100-40-20-10 Kentucky Oaks qualifying points to the top four finishers; the $200,000 Bay Shore, a seven-furlong sprint for sophomores; and the $150,000 Distaff Handicap at seven furlongs for older mares and mares. Also included on the Saturday pass is the $100,000 Danger’s Hour at a mile on grass for 4 year olds and older

By Stay Thirsty, Mind Control has been since recording a career-best 104 Beyer speed figure at the Parx Dirt Mile in September, where he made his first two-round start in almost three years and defeated Grade 1 winner Silver State , no longer raced.

Mind Control has never finished worse than second place in six starts in the Big A, including wins at the Graded Stakes Grade 3 Bay Shore in April 2019, the Grade 3 Toboggan and Grade 3 Tom Fool the following year. The brown millionaire made his season debut in last year’s Carter and finished a distant second behind trainer Gregg Sacco. After a close seventh place finish in the next Grade 1 Churchill Downs Handicap, he joined Todd Pletcher and made his debut for Hall of Fame coach with a win beating Firenze Fire by a head in July at Grade 2 John A. Nerud Belmont .

A Class 1 winner with two and three places in the Hopeful and H. Allen Jerkens Memorial at Saratoga Race Course, Mind Control will be aiming for another prestigious win. He appears in excellent shape to head into the Carter, having worked through a trio of weekly bullets dating back to March 12.

“He had a really nice series of breezes for Todd at Palm Beach Downs,” said Red Oak Stable race director Rick Sacco. “He was shipped to New York on Sunday in good condition. It would be great for him to win a class 1 at 6 years old. They always wonder how fit they are after the release but he’s doing really well and we’re all looking forward to bringing him back and guiding him. He will definitely make a good account.”

Although Mind Control proved his two-round skills with his most recent out-score in the Parx Dirt Mile, his 2022 campaign will be clearer based on his Carter result.

“We play it outside of the race,” Sacco said. “He’s been great when he’s gone the mile but we’ll see where that takes us. He developed really well over the winter.”

Mind Control comes from the Lightnin N Thunder mare Feel That Fire, who also produced the candidate for the Kentucky Oaks 2022, who competed several times goddess of fire.

The second Mineshaft filly was entered in Class 2 at Gulfstream Park Oaks Saturday for more Kentucky Oaks points. She is currently ninth in the standings with 22 points, third in Grade 2 Pocahontas at Churchill Downs in September and second to last in Grade 2 Rachel Alexandra at the Fairgrounds on February 19th.

“She blossomed when we brought her to Florida,” Sacco said. “She ran an exceptional race with seven eighths in Tampa, coming back a 12 on the leaves. One more jump and she probably wins. We pointed towards the Fair Grounds and took two corners and it’s a long way down there so she might have taken the lead too early. So she drove around, but she handled everything well. She is thriving and couldn’t do better. More importantly, her weight was excellent. Mares can slack off a bit, but she has developed very well. She has gained weight from every race, her eyes are bright and her coat looks great.”

When asked how similar Mind Control and Goddess of Fire are, Sacco said, “You have thoughts in your head. Both are very competitive and very smart.”

NYRA press office
Photo: Mind Control (water cap inside) battling for victory at the John A. Nerud at Belmont on July 4, 2021. (Chelsea Durand)

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