December 18, 2017

Mind Your Biscuits, Unchained Melody and Tom’s d’Etat breeze at Saratoga for upcoming stakes

Mind Your Biscuits winning the Belmont Sprint Championship (G2) July 8, 2017 (c) Susie Raisher/Adam Coglianese Photography

Multiple Grade/Group 1 winner Mind Your Biscuits recorded a five-furlong breeze in 1:00.45 under regular rider Joel Rosario on Friday over Saratoga’s fast main track for trainer Chad Summers.

The four-year-old son of Posse worked in company with maiden winner Rock Nation, clocking splits of :24.20 and :37.20 before galloping out three-quarters in 1:14.40.

While the move was third fastest of 18 others at that distance on the day, Summers was less than impressed.

“It was OK. I don’t think it was the best work we’ve ever seen from him,” he said. “It was the work that I thought, unfortunately, that we were going to get. He’s going to end up with (close to) a bullet work, and I’m disappointed.

“He came home the last quarter in :23. To anybody else, they’d probably say it was a good work…but knowing the horse the way we know him, I’m not happy,” Summers added.

This was Mind Your Biscuits’ third move at Saratoga, following a pair of half-mile works in :49.09 and :50.55 which followed a 3 1/2-length victory in the Belmont Sprint Championship (G2) at Belmont Park on July 8.

Summers indicated Mind Your Biscuits may not be enjoying the boisterous atmosphere at Saratoga, with road traffic and music from local businesses keeping the chestnut colt from thriving.

Mind Your Biscuits visited Saratoga last year to take the Amsterdam Stakes (G2) and finish fifth in the King’s Bishop Stakes (G1). He would go on to be runner-up in the Gallant Bob Stakes (G3) at Parx Racing before closing out the year with a second in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) and win in the Malibu Stakes (G1).

In addition to his Belmont Sprint Championship score, the New York-bred colt also boasts a victory in the Dubai Golden Shaheen (UAE-G1) at Meydan on March 25 and neck second in the Gulfstream Park Sprint (G3) to open his four-year-old campaign on February 25.

Summers has been eyeing both the $600,000 Forego Stakes (G1) at Saratoga and $200,000 Pat O’Brien Stakes (G2) at Del Mar for Mind Your Biscuits’ next start. Both races are scheduled for seven furlongs on August 26 and are “Win & You’re In” contests for the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1).

“It throws everything up in the air,” Summers said. “At this point now we’re just going to sit here, sleep with him tonight and figure it out.

“The Forego is a possibility. The Pat O’Brien goes back on the radar. There’s a plane that leaves Sunday to go to California. Skipping both races entirely and waiting for something else is also a possibility. He had shown all the signs that this was going to happen today, and it happened.

“To beat the caliber of field (in the Forego) with Drefong and Tommy Macho and those horses, you’ve got to bring your ‘A’ game and he didn’t bring it today. I’m not going to commit to anything at this point. We’ll just kind of see what happens. I’d say we’re 50-50 at best.”

Trainer Brian Lynch was much more pleased with Grade 2 winner Unchained Melody’s gate breeze on Friday.

The Smart Strike filly went out after the maintenance break with jockey Joel Rosario aboard, and worked in company with Grade 3 runner-up Meantime, who had Joe Bravo in the irons.

Unchained Melody covered a half-mile from the gate in 1:01.78 on Saratoga’s main track.

“I thought it was a good little work,” Lynch said. “She’s ready to run the same day as (Meantime), so I just wanted to let her have a nice work with him. He hadn’t run in a while, and I wanted to have a nice gate drill, but I wanted her to have a gate work where she can just sit off another horse and relax if she’s got to, and the boys did a nice job with it.”

Unchained Melody is targeting $600,000 Alabama Stakes (G1) going 1 1/4 miles on August 19. Meantime is headed for an allowance on the same card.

“Meantime is no slouch and it was a nice little tune-up work for her. She sat back off him and joined him nice around the turn, and Joel was happy with the work,” Lynch said. “He’s going to regroup; we’re going run on the same day.”

Unchained Melody will be making just her second try against stakes rivals in the Alabama after wiring her stakes debut in the Mother Goose Stakes (G2) by three lengths on July 1 at Belmont Park.

“I thought that race had a lack of speed in there, and she has a nice cruising speed so I said to Joel, ‘If she breaks well, and she’s comfortable on the lead, then don’t be afraid to leave her where she is,'” Lynch said. “I think that she ran a pretty quick first quarter there, and that’s one of her assets. I think she has a bit of early speed, she can open up a little bit, and then she relaxes, and then she has such a high cruising speed she can maintain, and she seems to have a good wind capacity. She had enough gas in her to kick again.”

Also working on Friday at Saratoga for an upcoming stakes was Tom’s d’Etat, who was last seen running away with a nine-furlong allowance/optional claimer on July 27 by nine lengths. That win earned the Al Stall Jr. trainee a career-best 107 BRIS Speed rating.

On Friday, Tom’s d’Etat posted his first move since that stellar score when breezing a half-mile in :49.92 on the main track.

“It went perfect. We wanted :50 and he got it in :49 and four,” Stall said. “It was his first work off the race and everything seems fine. There he is, sacked out. He takes care of himself.

“He ran 15 days ago. I just want to get him in on the weekends,” the trainer added. “He’ll go weekend, weekend, weekend and this way, if we have to shuffle weather-wise a day or two it gives us some elbow room.”

Tom’s d’Etat is pointing for the $750,000 Woodward Stakes (G1) September 2 at Saratoga. The Smart Strike four-year-old will be making his stakes bow in that 1 1/8-mile contest.

“He’s going to run in the Woodward,” Stall confirmed. “There’s no more allowance races for him. I’m not going to tell Tom Benson, who’s won the Super Bowl, ‘Let’s go chase a $75,000 stakes or something like that.

“It’s OK. He’s undefeated on this track and very comfortable here, in good form and fit and all that good stuff.”

Tom’s d’Etat’s other start at Saratoga came when he broke his maiden last August by four front-running lengths at nine furlongs.

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