SOUTH OZONE PARK, NY – Red Oak Stable and Madaket Stables’ Mind Control became racing’s newest millionaire on Saturday with an eye-popping performance in the $200,000 Tom Fool Handicap (G3) at Aqueduct.
Stumbling as he broke from post 4 under Junior Alvarado as the 7/5 favorite, Mind Control recovered but raced near the back while in the clear. Happy Farm raced just inside of Wentz while setting early fractions of :22.87 and :46.17.
Off the far turn, Happy Farm dispatched of Wentz and began to draw off while kept to a hand ride. Meanwhile, Alvarado had Mind Control placed perfectly in the middle of the track and set him down for the drive home.
Furiously gobbling up dirt with every stride, Mind Control surged late as Happy Farm grew leg-weary. The Greg Sacco trainee usurped the lead in the shadow of the wire as Alvarado hand-rode him across in a final time of 1:10.88 for the 6-furlong sprint over the fast main track.
“I was further back than I wanted to be, but he’s an old pro and he knows where the wire is and when to put the run,” Alvarado said. “As soon as I put him on the outside past the 3/8 pole, he knew what was going on and started picking it up turning for home. I switched my stick to the left because it seemed like he responded to it. He was just flying. He was so strong at the end.”
Though caught late, Happy Farm remained 2 lengths clear of Bon Raison for second, while 5 3/4 lengths further back, Mr. Dougie Fresh nipped a fading Wentz for fourth by a 1/2-length. Completing the order of finish came Wonderful Light, Sicilia Mike, and Skyler’s Scramjet.
Mind Control’s win was his third straight following scores in the H. Allen Jerkens Stakes (G1) and the Toboggan Stakes (G3) to improve his record to 12-7-2-1. The 4-year-old son of Stay Thirsty, bred by Red Oak Stable, has now earned $1,003,000.
“He’s like New York’s darling horse and loves Aqueduct,” said Sacco, whose trainee has now won four of five local starts. “These stakes are rich and deep in tradition. As a trainer, you dream of running in them. It’s a special thing to win them. New York is the crème de la crème of racing. To compete and win at the highest level is special for our team.”
Mind Control returned $4.80 to win, $2.80 to place, and $2.30 to show. Happy Farm brought back $3.50 to place and $2.80 to show, while Bon Raison paid $3.10 to show.