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Grade 1 winner Mind Control Tops Toboggan at Aqueduct

January 17, 2020

There will be a brief respite from the wintertime blues Saturday at Aqueduct when a multiple grade 1 winner tops the featured race at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Mind Control, who turned four on Jan. 1, looks like the one to beat in the $150,000 Toboggan Stakes at the Big A.

The seven-furlong stakes is a Grade 3 affair and in Mind Control it has a 2-1 favorite who owns Grade 1 wins at two and three.

Winner of the Hopeful Stakes at two, his 3-year-old season was capped by a victory in the Grade 1 H. Allen Jerkens Stakes at Saratoga.

The Jerkens was the final act in a 3-year-old campaign that saw Mind Control win three of six starts.

Though he hasn’t started since that Aug. 24 stakes, the 4-year-old owned by Red Oak Stable and Madaket Stables has been working sharply and seems ready for a strong effort in Saturday’s stakes.

“He’s had a long schedule and we kept him going without ever having a break so after the Allen Jerkens seemed like a good time to do that. The goal was the Jerkens in 2019 but he had been in continuous training from May 2018 without having ever left the backside of a racetrack. This is a real good start-off race. It’s the right distance and he likes the track. He enjoyed the last winter in New York and really thrived over the Belmont training track,” said Red Oak Stable’s Racing Manager Rick Sacco, who is the brother of trainer Gregory Sacco. “We gave him time off on the farm and he really transformed into a nice, beautiful-looking 4-year-old. He put on weight, he grew, and this just seemed like the best spot back.”

The field of nine also includes the venerable Sunny Ridge (9-2), a 7-year-old New Jersey-bred gelding who has earned slightly more than $1.4 million in his career.

A graded stakes winner trained by Jason Servis, Sunny Ridge was last seen winning the Richard W. Small Stakes at Laurel Park, a two-turn 1 1/8-mile stakes. The distance of the Toboggan could work against Sunny Ridge as, in his 29th start, he will be racing at seven furlongs for the first time.

American Anthem, the 7-2 second choice in the morning line, is a veteran of graded stakes competition. He’s won a pair of Grade 2 stakes at seven furlongs, the 2018 Triple Bend Stakes at Santa Anita and 2017 Woody Stephens Stakes.

Unraced since he finished fourth in an Oct. 12 allowance race at Keeneland, he will be making his first start for trainer Danny Gargan.

 T Loves a Fight (5-1) will make a quick return in the Toboggan as he raced last Saturday in the Say Florida Stakes, where he finished second in the seven-furlong stakes for New York State-breds.

The rest of the field includes Arch Cat (15-1), Nicodemus (5-1), Bon Raison (20-1), Still Having Fun (12-1) and The Sicarii (50-1).

Besides the Saturday and Sunday cards at Aqueduct, there will also be a special holiday card on Monday.