Aqueduct Notes

January 14, 2020

Aqueduct Racetrack Notes

  • Multiple Grade 1-winner Mind Control scheduled to return in G3 Toboggan
  • G1 Belmont Stakes winner Sir Winston pointed to $100K Jazil
  • Monday Morning Qb possible for G3 Withers
  •  Arthur’s Hope earns 98 Beyer Speed Figure in Say Florida Sandy
  • Apprentice rider Cardenas fast learner at Aqueduct Winter meet
  • Aqueduct Winter Week 3 Stakes Probables

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Dual Grade 1-winner Mind Control will make his long awaited return to racing action in Saturday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Toboggan at Aqueduct Racetrack, according to trainer Gregg Sacco.

Owned by Red Oak Stable in partnership with Sol Kumin and Jason Monteleone’s Madaket Stables, the newly-turned 4-year-old son of Stay Thirsty has not raced since a narrow nose victory over Hog Creek Hustle and highly regarded Shancelot in the Grade 1 H. Allen Jerkens on August 24 at Saratoga.

During his 2-year-old campaign, Mind Control provided Sacco with his first Grade 1 victory as a conditioner when taking the Grade 1 Hopeful at the Spa.

Mind Control has progressed on the comeback trail with a series of works over the Belmont Park training track, most recently breezing a half-mile from the gate in 48.01 seconds on Saturday morning.

“He’s doing super,” Sacco said. “He had his final work on Saturday. It was a breeze from the gate. All of his works leading up have been right on target. He couldn’t be doing any better. He spent some time at the farm in Ocala after the Allen Jerkens which was by design and he came back a lot stronger and broader. Hopefully we have a nice 4-year-old this year.”

Sacco said the Grade 1, $400,000 Carter Handicap on April 4 at the Big A is a long-term goal for Mind Control.

“The Carter would be the main goal with maybe the [$125,000] Stymie [on March 7] in between,” Sacco said.

A Kentucky homebred, Mind Control is out of the stakes-winning Lightnin N Thunder broodmare Feel That Fire, who is a half-sister to stakes winner King for a Day.

Also on the comeback trail from the Sacco barn is stakes winner Joevia, who has not raced since finishing third in the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets on June 8.

Owned by Michael and Jeff Fazio, the son of Shanghai Bobby also breezed from the gate on Saturday morning over the Belmont training track, recording a half-mile in 47.47 seconds, which was the second fastest of 107 recorded works at the distance.

Joevia, who captured the Long Branch at Monmouth Park in May, is targeting a return in an allowance event on Friday at the Big A.

“He’s training really well and we’ll put him in the entry box for Friday,” Sacco said. “He does well over the winter here. He went to Ocala for a break as well and he’s really come back strong and happy. He’s right on schedule for Friday.”

Bred in Kentucky by Ikhana Farm, Joevia is out of the unraced War Front broodmare Peace Process and was purchased for $32,000 from the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale in April 2018.

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G1 Belmont Stakes winner Sir Winston pointed to $100K Jazil


 Tracy Farmer’s reigning Grade 1 Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets winner Sir Winston returned to trainer Mark Casse’s division at Belmont Park on Saturday and will make his 4-year-old debut in a race named after a fellow victor of the ‘Test of the Champion’.

The chestnut son of Awesome Again will breeze on Thursday or Friday in preparation for a possible start in the $100,000 Jazil on January 25 at Aqueduct. After spending some time at Casse’s training center in Ocala, Florida, Sir Winston shipped to Fair Grounds where he made his first start since winning the Belmont Stakes in the Woodchopper over the turf, finishing off the board.

“The problem was I was trying to get him ready for the [Grade 1, $3 million] Pegasus,” Casse said. “It’s not easy to find a spot for a Belmont Stakes winner. No conditions. He’s trained well over turf before. I breezed him over firm turf. They got a ton of rain for the race and he just did not handle it. I just wanted to get a useful race under his belt.”

A solid performance in the Jazil could mean a start in the Group 1, $12 million Dubai World Cup on March 28 at Meydan Racecourse. No Belmont Stakes winner has gone on to win the Dubai World Cup the following year.

“He’ll probably breeze there either Thursday or Friday and depending on what he does, we’ll run him. We’re hoping if he goes and runs well we can send him for the Dubai World Cup,” Casse said.

A Kentucky homebred, Sir Winston is out of the Afleet Alex broodmare La Gran Bailadora, who was a three-time stakes winner over the all-weather surface.

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Monday Morning Qb possible for G3 Withers


 Cash is King and LC Racing’s Monday Morning Qb took a step up in class last out when notching a first stakes victory in the Heft at Laurel Park, just one month following a second-out maiden score.

Trainer Robert “Butch” Reid said the dark bay colt could target a start on the Road to the Kentucky Derby in the Grade 3, $250,000 Withers (10-4-2-1) on February 1 at Aqueduct Racetrack. The 1 1/8-mile event for 3-year-olds over the main track is the third of five local preps for the ‘Run for the Roses’.

The Maryland-bred son of 2019 freshman sire Imagining won the seven-furlong Heft on December 28 at Laurel Park defeating Grade 1 winner Nucky, garnering an 81 Beyer Speed Figure. He graduated with an 85 Beyer at second asking over the main track at Parx.

Reid enjoyed success on last year’s Derby trail with Grade 2 Remsen winner Maximus Mischief, who was retired to stud following a soft-tissue injury.

“He was kind of tired, it was a big step up for him [in the Heft],” said Reid, who trained 2010 Withers winner Afleet Again. “But after a few days he was back to his old self. He’s been training lights out.”

Monday Morning Qb appeared a bit green in the stretch run of his stakes score, but Reid said the horse should improve with time and that stretching out in distance shouldn’t be a problem.

“He got confused and didn’t switch leads on the turn. As he matures, he’ll get better and more professional and that’s what we’ve been focusing on in the mornings with him,” Reid said.

Bred by Bowman & Higgins Stable & Cary Frommer, Monday Morning Qb is out of the Not For Love broodmare How My Heart Works and was acquired for $25,000 from the Fasig-Tipton Mid Atlantic October Yearling Sale in 2018.

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Arthur’s Hope earns 98 Beyer Speed Figure in Say Florida Sandy


 Raul DelValle’s Arthur’s Hope earned a lofty 98 Beyer Speed Figure for his one-length score in Saturday’s $100,000 Say Florida Sandy at Aqueduct.

Trained by Maryland-based Marco Salazar, the 6-year-old Smart Bid chestnut led gate-to-wire to secure his first stakes win in the seven-furlong test for New York-breds four-years-old and upwards.

Salazar, whose only other stakes score came with Tuffted in the 2007 Peach of It Handicap at Hawthorne, said Arthur’s Hope will turn back to six furlongs next out in the $100,000 Hollie Hughes set for February 17 at the Big A.

“He looked fine this morning and will ship back to me in Maryland this afternoon,” said Salazar. “We’ll be sending him back to New York for the race in February. He’s a very sound horse and easy to train. He started his career in Panama and they sent him here to me and so far so good.”

Bred in the Empire State by Monhill Farm, Arthur’s Hope improved his record to twelve wins and three seconds from 26 career starts. A $22,000 purchase from the 2015 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, Arthur’s Hope started his career in Panama, where he won eight-of-11 starts.

Arthur’s Hope earned a career-best 100 Beyer Speed Figure in May when romping to a six-length score in a six-furlong allowance tilt at Parx. Salazar said he has confidence in the chestnut’s ability to carry his speed at a variety of distances, referencing a solid fourth on August 3, 2018 when he made most of the running in an event won by the multiple graded-stakes placed Unbridled Juan.

“He can carry his speed three-quarters to seven-eighths easy,” said Salazar. “I ran him once at Laurel going a mile against a tough field and he was only beat a length and three-quarters. When he’s training well it seems like he can carry another eighth of a mile. He’s a fighter too. He won’t give up.”

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Apprentice rider Cardenas fast learner at Aqueduct Winter meet

Apprentice jockey Luis Cardenas picked up his first victory with his 15th career mount when he guided 3-1 Solitary Gem to a 3 ½ length victory in the Friday finale at Aqueduct for owner-trainer Leah Gyarmati.

The 22-year-old Cardenas didn’t rest on his laurels also picking up his second career win aboard 5-1 Majestic Affair for conditioner Mertkan Kantarmaci in Saturday’s third race.

A native of Peru, Cardenas immigrated to the United States in 2009 when he was 12-years-old and began working with horses in South Carolina. Following a move to New York in 2017, he picked up work as an exercise rider for various trainers on the NYRA circuit including Gyarmati, Bruce Levine, and Randi Persaud.

Cardenas was appreciative of all the trainers who gave him an opportunity on his path to becoming an apprentice rider.

“It’s very exciting and emotional,” said Cardenas following his first win on Friday. “It’s very overwhelming to be riding here in New York, especially to be racing with the big guys in this colony. When I came to New York, Randi gave me my first opportunity to get on horses and then I went on to work for Bruce Levine and later Leah, who gave me the opportunity to ride Solitary Gem. I was lucky to bring her home.”

A 5-year-old Gemologist mare, Solitary Gem picked up her first victory since breaking her maiden in February of 2018. Cardenas stalked from fourth position aboard Solitary Gem, but clipped heels at the top of the lane when trying to split rivals. The apprentice recovered quickly and pointed his mare outside to secure the lead with enough in the tank to fend off the rallying Nasty Affair.

“I was thinking I could get a little space so I could sneak through but thank God I didn’t fall off,” said Cardenas. “After moving outside, I had a lot of horse and thankfully it’s a long stretch. I had plenty of horse to get home.”

Cardenas had an easier time of it aboard Majestic Affair for Mertkan Kantarmaci on Saturday, closely stalking the leader and inching away to secure a 1 ½ length claiming victory on the 8-year-old Majesticperfection gelding.

Cardenas will continue his apprentice journey with one mount entering Sundays card aboard maiden Bella Domenica for trainer Phil Serpe in the fourth race.

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Aqueduct Winter Week 3 Stakes Probables

Saturday, January 18

Grade 3, $150,000 Toboggan

Probable: American Anthem (Danny Gargan); Mind Control (Gregory Sacco); Sunny Ridge (Jason Servis); The Sicarii (Ed DeLauro); Wicked Trick (Linda Rice)

Possible: Bon Raison (Peter Tournas); Still Having Fun (Timothy Keefe)

$100,000 Franklin Square

Probable: A Freud of Mama (Mike Maker); Ancient Brown (David Donk); Big Q (Gary Gullo); Fierce Lady (Dermot Magner); Firenze Freedom (Servis); Officer Hutchy (Rice); Playtone (George Weaver); Violent Point (Mark Casse)

Possible: Myawaya (Todd Pletcher)


Sunday, January 19

$100,000 Ladies

Probable: Annie Rocks (Ed DeLauro); Another Broad (Pletcher); Ballera (Pletcher); Held Accountable (Phil Serpe); Lucky Move (Juan Carlos Guerrero); Nonsensical (Tom Albertrani); Our Super Nova (Charlton Baker)

Monday, January 20

$100,000 Interborough

Probable: Abounding Joy (Bill Mott); Champagne Bliss (Chad Summers); Honor Way (Baker); Saguaro Row (Michael Stidham); Slimey (Dave Cannizzo)Possible: New Year’s Wish (Rice); Newly Minted (Rice); Victim of Love (Todd Beattie)

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