OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Red Oak Stable and Madaket Stables’ multiple Grade 1-winner Mind Control breezed six furlongs in 1:13 flat Saturday at Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida in preparation for a start in the Grade 1, $300,000 Carter Handicap on April 3 on the Wood Memorial presented by Resorts World Casino undercard at Aqueduct Racetrack.
“He had a great work yesterday going three-quarters in 1:13 solo and he galloped out strong,” trainer Gregg Sacco said. “He came out of the work super and was bucking and jumping this morning. We have one more work next Saturday at Palm Meadows and then he will fly to New York.”
Mind Control finished third last out in the Grade 3 Mr. Prospector, a seven-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds and up won by Sleepy Eyes Todd on December 19 at Gulfstream Park.
“We gave Mind Control a little break after he ran in the Mr. Prospector and he has come back as good as ever,” said Sacco. “He had six weeks off at Good Chance Farm and it did him a world of good. He came back really fresh and happy.”
Mind Control is a three-time Grade 1 winner with scores in the 2018 Hopeful at Saratoga, the 2019 Woody Stephens at Belmont and the 2019 H. Allen Jerkens at Saratoga. He has enjoyed previous success at the Big A, where he is 4-for-5, with scores in the 2019 Grade 3 Bay Shore and last year’s Grade 3 Toboggan and Grade 3 Tom Fool Handicap.
Sacco said Mind Control is in fine fettle approaching his seasonal debut.
“This might be his last season to race, so we’d like to make every race count. Going into a Grade 1 off the layoff, we wanted to make sure he had all the preparation needed,” said Sacco. “We had an alternative here next weekend at Gulfstream in the Sir Shackleton, but Mind Control loves Aqueduct and he’s training as good as we can expect. He looks fantastic, his coat is great and his weight is great. He’s really wintered well.”
The 5-year-old Stay Thirsty bay will look to make amends for a sixth-place effort in last year’s Carter, won by Vekoma over a sloppy main track in June at Belmont Park.
“We had the Carter penciled in last year and unfortunately with the pandemic it was set back to Belmont on a sloppy day, which he hates,” said Sacco. “This year, I hope we catch good weather.”
Sacco said Junior Alvarado, currently enjoying a productive winter at Gulfstream Park, will have the call on Mind Control in the Carter. Alvarado was aboard for a rallying 1 1/4-length score in last year’s Grade 3 Tom Fool Handicap at the Big A.
“Junior is one-for-one on him and rode him terrific. He worked him a few times last winter for us in New York,” said Sacco. “Junior is having an outstanding winter here and riding lights out. He made a good choice to come to south Florida this year and show off his skills and I think he’ll come back to New York with a head of steam.”
Aqueduct Stable Notes
Photo: Mind Control battles Hog Creek Hustle and Shancealot at the wire to beat them by a whisker to win the Allen Jekens. (Janet Garaguso)