March 22, 2023

Mind Control fights back to edge Hot Rod Charlie in Salvator Mile; Home Brew rolls in Pegasus

Mind Control #1 (Inside) with John Velazquez riding battles to the wire with Hot Rod Charlie #3 and Mike Smith to win the Salvator Mile (Photo By Bill Denver/EQUI-PHOTO)

Mind Control appeared to be in trouble when collared by Hot Rod Charlie in the stretch of Saturday’s $150,000 Salvator Mile (G3) at Monmouth Park, but the six-year-old horse fought back gamely to prevail in the final strides by a head. John Velazquez was up for Todd Pletcher, and Mind Control finished the two-turn mile in 1:35.79.

A non-threatening fifth most recently in the seven-furlong Churchill Downs S. (G1) on May 7, Mind Control was able to control the pace for the first time since a frontrunning win in the seven-furlong John Nerud (G2) last summer. He sprinted to the fore in the Salvator Mile from his rail post, showing the way on a short lead through fractions in :23.60 and :46.66 as Hot Rod Charlie tracked in second.

Hot Rod Charlie, a 3-10 favorite in his first start since finishing second in the $12 million Dubai World Cup (G1) in late March, drew alongside on the far turn and advanced to stick a head in front in midstretch, but he could not sustain his momentum as Mind Control kept plugging away to the inside.

Mind Control surged late to prove best, improving his overall record to 26-10-3-5, and the nine-time stakes victor has now bankrolled more than $1.5 million for Stephen Brunetti’s Red Oak Stable and Sol Kumin’s Madaket Stables.

Winner of the Parx Dirt Mile last fall, Mind Control opened 2022 with a third in the Carter H. (G1). His biggest triumphs came earlier in his career, the 2018 Hopeful (G1) and 2019 H. Allen Jerkens Memorial (G1), and he owns seven stakes placings. Mind Control was bred in Kentucky by Red Oak, and he’s out of the stakes-winning Lightnin N Thunder mare Feel That Fire.

Hot Rod Charlie, an earner of more than $5.1 million, was more than six lengths clear of Shirl’s Speight in third. Phat Man and Mohaafeth came next under the wire.

Pegasus S.

A couple of races earlier on the program, Home Brew powered his way to a 6 1/4-length victory in the $150,000 Pegasus S., the local prep for the $1 million Haskell (G1) on July 23. Paco Lopez picked up the mount on the three-year-old son of Street Sense, and Brad Cox trains the bay colt for owner/breeder Gary and Mary West.

Home Brew would face an enormous class check in the Haskell, but the progressing sophomore has recorded two straight convincing stakes wins, taking the April 23 Oaklawn S. in his previous outing. He won 2-of-3 juvenile starts, but earned nearly a four-month freshening after opening this year with an unplaced effort in his stakes debut, the Smarty Jones S.

Cyberviking set the pace while being chased by 6-5 favorite Electability, and Home Brew stalked the duo in third, swinging three-wide into contention nearing the conclusion of the far turn. Home Brew took over while straightening home, quickly opening a clear lead, and he scored by 6 1/4 lengths under wraps.

The 3-2 second choice, Home Brew completed 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.20.

Electability held second by a neck over Cyberviking. It was more than another 10 lengths back to Mr Jefferson, who was followed by Cooke Creek, Jamie Dreams, and King of Hollywood.

Out of the Tapit mare Omnitap, Kentucky-bred Home Brew is a full-brother to Grade 2 winner Air Strike.