Mind Control Targets G1 Runhappy Carter Handicap

May 20, 2020

Photo Credit: Janet Garaguso

NYRA Press

Red Oak Stable and Madaket Stables’ Mind Control, a dual G1-winner on the New York Racing Association (NYRA) circuit, will get to target the Grade 1, $250,000 Runhappy Carter Handicap after all.

Trained by Gregg Sacco, the 4-year-old Stay Thirsty colt was expected to follow his last-out win in the Grade 3, $200,000 Tom Fool Handicap on March 7 at Aqueduct Racetrack in the Runhappy Carter Handicap, which had been scheduled for April 4 at the Big A until the suspension of live racing amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We were thrilled to see the race was back on the card and we’re looking forward to running Mind Control in the Carter,” said Sacco. “Everyone at Belmont and NYRA has collectively done a great job and worked really hard to help bring racing back.”

On Tuesday, NYRA announced a 25-day Belmont spring/summer meet with a lucrative stakes schedule that includes the seven-furlong Runhappy Carter Handicap, a Win and You’re In qualifier for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, as the centerpiece of a June 6 card that will kick off the first of five consecutive Saturdays of Grade 1 races at Belmont Park.

Mind Control has remained in training throughout the racing hiatus at Belmont Park where he breezed five furlongs in an easy 1:03.24 on May 16 on the main track.

“He’s been on a weekly schedule throughout this time and he’s only missed one week. He’s training super,” said Sacco. “He’s just gliding over the main track. He had his first work on the main last week and he’ll work again on Saturday on the main track. He couldn’t be doing any better going into the race.”

Mind Control’s NYRA 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 is hopeful of another shot at a Grade 1 score at Saratoga later this summer with the Grade 1 Vanderbilt a possibility for Mind Control.

“He’s two-for-two at Saratoga, but we’ll take it one race at time. The Carter is an important race and another Grade 1. We expect a very tough race but he’s going in with the right mindset,” said Sacco.

Jeff Fazio and Michael Fazio’s Joevia, who won the 2019 Long Branch at Monmouth Park, is under consideration for the Grade 3, $100,000 Westchester, a 1 1/16-mile route for older horses on Saturday, June 6 at Belmont.

The 4-year-old Shanghai Bobby colt had a successful ‘Llewellyn’ surgery to correct a breathing issue following off-the-board efforts in the Grade 3 Razorback in February at Oaklawn Park and the Stymie on March 7 at the Big A.

“We’ll nominate him for the Westchester,” said Sacco. “It looks like the breathing issue is under control. He’s shown no indication of any breathing impairment in his works back, so we’ll nominate and take a serious look at it.”

Joevia was a front-running third in last year’s Belmont Stakes which Sacco said demonstrated the colt’s significant ability.

“That was probably the best race of his career. He loves the big track – he’s a big horse himself – and he really moves well over that surface,” said Sacco. “I think it was the breathing that was an issue these last two races. He’s an elite horse and the Westchester might be the right spot.”

@PastTheWire Did it again Jon! Stay hot!

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