Mind Control Authoritative Over Mucho In Hopeful Stakes

Owned by his breeder Red Oak Stable and Madaket Stable, juvenile Mind Control was impressive in Monday’s Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga. The son of Stay Thirsty, piloted by John Velazquez at odds of 10-1, took the lead in the backstretch and turned back a pair of rivals in the stretch to win by just under a length. It was the first Grade 1 win for trainer Gregory Sacco, who watched Mind Control complete seven furlongs over the fast main track in 1:22.99. Even-money favorite Mucho had to settle for second, while Nitrous (9-2) checked in third.

“It’s my first Grade 1 [win] so it’s real special,” Sacco said. “I’m the son of a trainer. My dad never had the opportunity to train these types of horses. It’s very meaningful. It’s a great feeling. I have my whole family here and I can’t be any happier.”

As expected, the speedy Nitrous broke on top of the field, but jockey Ricardo Santana elected not to rush the colt through a first quarter in :22.96. That left the door open for Velazquez and Mind Control, positioned against the rail, to take command heading into the far turn, leading by just over a neck through the half in :45.68.

Though Mucho was looming threateningly on the outside, Velazquez stayed focused at the rail and found Mind Control the shortest route to victory. Near the head of the lane, it was three across the track with Mind Control, Nitrous, and Mucho. Santana edged away from the rail, toward Mucho, giving his colt a target, and Mind Control had the all the room he could ask for at the rail.

By the eighth pole Mind Control had started to pull away, and he crossed the wire three-quarters of a length ahead of the favored Mucho. Nitrous had to settle for third. Dream Maker was fourth.

“I told Gregory earlier I was going to try to come out running and get position early in the race,” said Velazquez. “The horse didn’t want to be on the lead and fortunately it worked out that way. He settled pretty easy along the backstretch and got settled to the turn. Once we reached the three-eights pole and I asked him, he was full of run. I was real proud of the way he finished he came on and never relinquished.”

Bred in Kentucky by co-owner Red Oak Stable, Mind Control is out of the stakes-winning Lightnin N Thunder mare Feel That Fire. He ran second on debut at Delaware Park, then broke his maiden at Monmouth by an easy three lengths. Mind Control has now won two of his three starts for earnings of over $220,000.

“I’ll have to discuss [running in the Breeders’ Cup] with the [owners], but I would think so,” Sacco continued. “I don’t think the distance will give him limitations. The way he’s trained and galloped out last race, he’s just a genuine horse. He has a ton of ability the main thing is that he’s so smart. He acts like an older horse and does everything right. For a young horse, it’s a big plus. He’ll go back tomorrow morning to Monmouth. We’ll savor this win and go from there.”

The post Mind Control Authoritative Over Mucho In Hopeful Stakes appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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