Cigar Mile Handicap (Grade 1)
THE six-year-old horse Mind Control ended his career in the best possible style when he emerged victorious in a three-way battle for the $750,000 Grade 1 Cigar Mile Handicap Presented by NYRA Bets at Aqueduct on Saturday.
The son of Stay Thirsty, who had also ended his career with a win in this race, fought off Get Her Number and White Abarrio in a photo finish showing all his determination under jockey John Velazquez.
Mind Control broke well and tracked outsider Outlier to a half mile in 46.55secs. Taking over into the straight, he had Get Her Number on the outside and White Abarrio slipping through on the rail, Mind Control had to battle between the two before gamely defeating Get Her Number by a head with White Abarrio a half-length behind in third. The final time was 1m 35.53secs on a sloppy track. Favourite Zandon finished fourth.
Winner of the 2018 Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes as a juvenile, and the Grade 1 H. Allen Jerkens Stakes at three in 2019 trained by Gregg Sacco, Mind Control also won graded stakes during the last two seasons, and added a third Grade 1 on Saturday for Todd Pletcher.
“If you like horse racing, you’ve got to love this horse,” Pletcher said. “He’s done it consistently year after year at multiple distances. He’s a great horse to be able to train. He’s the type of horse that if you get into a battle with him, he’s going to fight.”
“When (Get Her Number) put his head in front of me and didn’t pass me, I was like, ‘This is going to be a fight.’ And sure enough, he responded and put his head in front, and it was a really good fight to the wire,” Velazquez said afterwards.
“I’m a little sad to see him go because he’s one of the horses that kind of keeps me in the game…looking forward to these kinds of races.”
Mind Control retires with an impressive record of 12 wins from 29 starts, with earnings of $2,185,834 and eight graded stakes to his credit.
Matriarch Stakes (Grade 1)
CHAD Brown’s Regal Glory completed her racing career with a definite glory day in winning the Grade 1 Matriarch Stakes at Del Mar on Sunday.
Already a three-time Grade 1 winner, she signed out in spectacular style, annihilating a good field of fillies and mares in the mile turf race, winning it for the second consecutive time.
The six-year-old daughter of the Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom retires with 13 wins and over $2.6 million in prize money for owner Peter Brant who paid $925,000 for her from the Estate of Paul P. Pompa in 2021.
“It was so bittersweet, knowing it was her last run down the stretch,” Brown commented via BloodHorse. “I feel like she really deserved that curtain call of just going out many lengths in front of the crowd there. She’s a horse who’s been with us from age two to six consistently. She’s showed up every time I’ve asked her to. She’s a horse who’s been so durable, so consistent, and she has that will to win.”
Irish-bred Hamwood Flier led early for Phil D’Amato, and at one point she looked if she might well steal it when clear by nearly eight lengths.
Flavian Prat let Regal Glory move up on the outside around the second turn, and from there it was never in doubt. She flew past Hamwood Flier and by the line clear she had five and a quarter lengths to spare.
England’s Rose finished a nose in front of Pizza Bianca, a head back to fourth-place Hamwood Flier.
On Saturday, the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby went to an east coast raider in the Graham Motion-trained Speaking Scout. The Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners’ gelded son of Mr Speaker prevailed by three-quarters of a length.