SOUTH OZONE PARK, NY – In his first start since cutting back from the Kentucky Derby trail, Red Oak Stable and Madaket Stables’ Mind Control moved confidently to the front in mid-stretch before definitively winning Saturday’s Bay Shore Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct.
Breaking from post 3 under John Velazquez as the 2/1 second choice, Mind Control stalked from the outside of early leader Much Better through opening fractions of :22.33 and :45.14. Making his move off of the far turn, Mind Control inched up alongside the pacesetter and was very confidently handled as he took the lead. Continuing to move away from his foes under a mild ride, the Greg Sacco trainee crossed the wire with a 1-length advantage in a final time of 1:23.45 for the 7-furlong event over the fast main track.
“For whatever reason, he was even more focused on what he needed to do today than he was the last time (when finishing second in the Gotham Stakes [G3]),” Velazquez said. “He ran a good race last time, don’t get me wrong. He came from way back and got through the inside. Today, he was more secure about himself. Everything he did today was first class.”
Much Better was 5 lengths clear of Call Paul, with Mucho bringing up the rear in the short field that was reduced to four after Mount Travers scratched out.
Mind Control’s win was his third in a stakes event, having taken the Hopeful (G1) going this distance at Saratoga last summer and then clinching the mile-long Jerome here on January 1. The 3-year-old son of Stay Thirsty now sports a record of 7-4-2-0 with $520,900 earned.
“My brother, Rick Sacco, is our racing manager, and he thought that, in his development, that this race would be the right choice for him,” Greg Sacco said. “My brother was right, for once. Usually, I’m right. With all that being said, my brother realized how talented he is up to a mile, and they just didn’t want to churn him up in the Derby fever. There was serious consideration for the Wood (Memorial, the final local Kentucky Derby prep race) and to try and make it to the Derby, but he’s just so talented at this distance. We pinpointed this race first, with the Woody Stephens (a G1 race at a mile on June 8 at Belmont Park) in mind, so if he comes out of this race well and trains well, that will be our next target.”
Mind Control returned $6.30 to win and $2.80 to place, while Much Better brought back $3 to place. There was no show betting.