Mind Control Shows ‘Another Dimension’ With Impressive Tom Fool Victory, Carter Next

Trainer Greg Sacco could not speak higher volumes of Mind Control the morning after the colt launched a dramatic rally to win the Grade 3, $200,000 Tom Fool at Aqueduct Racetrack.

The Stay Thirsty bay overcame a bad start and had to make up eight lengths at the top of the stretch, but successfully caught stakes winner Happy Farm in the final half-furlong to notch a fifth graded stakes win.

Owned by Steve Brunetti’s Red Oak Stable in partnership with Sol Kumin and Jason Monteleone’s Madaket Stable, the 4-year-old did not display his usual prominent running style, racing in sixth position early. Jockey Junior Alvarado gave Mind Control his cue around the far turn, and he displayed a devastating turn of foot at the top of the stretch to bypass Happy Farm in hand to win by 1 ¼ lengths.

“He came back great,” Sacco said. “We didn’t expect to be that far back, but the little stumble caused that. He was on his wrong lead down the backside and Junior just let him be. He didn’t want to start fooling with him. He just let him settle into stride and when he got him in the clear, he took off. It was a pretty explosive run.”

Mind Control’s ledger includes a pair of Grade 1 wins at Saratoga Race Course, beginning with the Grade 1 Hopeful as a juvenile and the Grade 1 H. Allen Jerkens in August. Sacco said he will next point Mind Control toward a third top-flight score in the Grade 1, $400,000 Carter Handicap on April 4 at the Big A.

“He’s a special horse and showed another dimension yesterday,” Sacco said. “We’ll keep marching on here and the Carter will be the next step. It’s an important race and we’ll see how everything goes there. We’re kind of on the New York path here. We’ll take things one race at a time, but I think every race is New York for him.

“He probably won’t work for another two weeks, which should give us two works leading into the Carter,” added Sacco. “I’ll probably work him back a half and five-eighths before the race. He’s really fit and he really blossomed during that time off from three to four. He needed that break after the Jerkens.”

Mind Control was an 11-1 price when taking the Hopeful at age two, fresh off a second out maiden victory at Monmouth Park.

“We knew he could run going into that race, even when he broke his maiden at Monmouth,” Sacco said. “He’s the kind of horse we thought had gears, but you never know until you run against that top level. Last year, was a real good year for him, with some stumbled starts and mishaps but then he capped it off in the Jerkens. It was special to have him win a Grade 1 at two and three.”

Bred in Kentucky by Red Oak Stable, Mind Control is out of the stakes-winning Lightnin N Thunder broodmare Feel That Fire, who has produced four other progeny of racing age, three of which are winners.

Jeff Fazio and Michael Fazio’s stakes winner Joevia will get some time off after incurring a displaced pallet following a seventh and last-place finish in the Stymie. Third in last year’s Grade 1 Belmont Stakes, this was the son of Shanghai Bobby’s second uncharacteristic performance of the year after finishing 11th in the Grade 3 Razorback at Oaklawn Park last month.

“He displaced his pallet and blocked off his air so he’ll have surgery and get a few weeks off,” Sacco said. “It may have happened at Oaklawn and you don’t always pick it up on the scope. [Jockey] Chris DeCarlo said he was making a lot of noises. It’s a minor surgery, but hopefully he’ll bounce back.”

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