October 25, 2021

Mitole, Come Dancing score easily; Mind Control upsets Shancelot on Travers undercard

Mitole and Ricardo Santana Jr. win the Forego Stakes (G1) at Saratoga on Saturday, August 24, 2019 (c) Adam Coglianese Photography/Taylor Ejdys

After a hiccup earlier in the Saratoga meet, Mitole was back on his game Saturday in the $576,950 Forego (G1).

The 9-10 favorite against five rivals in the seven-furlong test, Mitole kept primary rival Promises Fulfilled honest through fractions of :23.05 and :45.58. Putting that foe away approaching the quarter pole, Mitole opened up a three-length advantage in the stretch and held that lead to the wire under Ricardo Santana Jr.

Owned by William and Corinne Heiligbrodt, Mitole paid $3.80. He completed the distance in a stakes-record 1:20.80 over a fast track.

Firenze Fire rallied for second, three parts of a length ahead of Killybegs Captain. Air Strike, Bon Raison, and Promises Fulfilled completed the order of finish.

This was Mitole’s fourth stakes win on the season and the sixth of his career. He kicked off his 2019 stakes campaign winning the Count Fleet Sprint H. (G3) at Oaklawn, and followed up with scores in the Churchill Downs (G1) and Metropolitan H. (G1). He regressed last time, however, finishing a distant third to Imperial Hint in the Alfred G. Vanderbilt H. (G1).

“I think the circumstances for the Vanderbilt just didn’t suit him; coming off the huge run in the Met Mile and cutting back to three-quarters,” trainer Steve Asmussen said. “But he came out of the race in good shape, trained beautifully for this, and the results speak for themselves.”

Bred in Kentucky by Edward Cox Jr., the son of Eskendereya has now bankrolled  $2,004,910 from a line of 13-9-2-2.

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Come Dancing turned in a stellar effort in the $480,000 Ballerina (G1), overcoming a less-than-ideal start but dominating nonetheless in the seven-furlong Breeders’ Cup Challenge prep for the Filly and Mare Sprint (G1).

Pinched back at the start in the field of five, Come Dancing recovered well enough to make a three-wide bid into contention around the far turn outside Separationofpowers and Mia Mischief, who dueled through splits of :23.31 and :45.86.

“When I saw her just sit out there in third, I said, ‘She’s so comfortable,'” trainer Carlos Martin said. “When she gets into that comfortable rhythm, it means she has a lot left coming back. She trained so brilliantly the whole time here. Sitting around the turn, I felt pretty comfortable.”

Come Dancing seized control in upper stretch and asserted herself well in the run to the wire, scoring by 3 1/2 lengths in a time of 1:21.48 for seven furlongs under Javier Castellano.

A homebred owned by Blue Devil Racing Stable, Come Dancing paid $3.50 as the odds-on favorite. Dawn the Destroyer finished second, two lengths ahead of Special Relativity. Separationofpowers and Mia Mischief completed the order of finish.

This was third win in four starts this season for the five-year-old daughter of Malibu Moon, who scored convincing wins in the Distaff H. (G3) and Ruffian (G2) earlier this term. She endured her only loss on the season thus far when a clear second to Midnight Bisou in the Ogden Phipps (G1).

The Kentucky-bred has now earned $881,700 from a line of 12-7-2-0.

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The $500,000 H. Allen Jerkens (G1) for three-year-olds had the heaviest favorite among the Travers Day stakes in Shancelot, but the 3-10 favorite was beaten on the line in a three-way photo by Mind Control, the 10-1 second choice.

Shancelot had every advantage to pull off a Saratoga stakes double after a track-record setting score in the Amsterdam (G2), enjoying a clear lead through fractions of :23.15 and :45.58. But Mind Control, who won the Hopeful (G1) last summer over the same track and distance and later added the $150,000 Jerome and Bay Shore (G3), played the spoiler under John Velazquez. He just edged Hog Creek Hustle by a nose, with Shancelot another nose behind in third.

Owned by Red Oak Stable and Madaket Stables, Mind Control paid $22.80 after completing seven furlongs in 1:21.43.

Mind Control rebounded here after two trouble-filled outings. The first was an eighth-place effort behind Hog Creek Hustle in the Woody Stephens (G1) two back. The most recent was a third-place finish in the $75,000 Concern at Laurel, which he lost by a neck.

“His last two trips were so brutal,” trainer Greg Sacco said. “The Woody Stephens was a nightmare. My brother picked out a great spot for him in Maryland and it wasn’t really a step down. He wanted the six weeks and he thought the Amsterdam would be a tough heat and it turned out to be an unbelievable heat, and he didn’t want a month back.

“This was the race we were pointing for since the Woody, all summer. We wanted him in peak performance. He’s gutsy horse. I can’t say enough about him and about my staff and the way they prepared him.”

Bred in Kentucky by Red Oak, the son of Stay Thirsty has compiled a record of 10-5-2-1 with earnings of $805,000.