Red Oak Stable and Madaket Stables’ multiple Grade 1-winning Mind Control went out a winner on Saturday, Dec. 3 with a hard-fought victory in the $750,000 Cigar Mile Handicap (G1) at Aqueduct. It was the final race of the Kentucky-bred’s stellar career before retiring to stud.
Trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by John Velazquez, the 6-year-old son of Stay Thirsty—a winner of the 2012 Cigar Mile—crossed the wire a head in front of runner-up Get Her Number after establishing an early position stalking from second throughout.
The Cigar Mile victory marked the third Grade 1 score for Mind Control who also captured the 2018 Hopeful Stakes (G1) and the 2019 H. Allen Jerkens Memorial Stakes (G1) at Saratoga. In addition to his Grade 1 scores, Mind Control has also annexed the 2021 PARX Mile, the 2021 John A. Nerud Stakes (G2) and the 2022 Salvator Mile (G3).
“If you like horse racing, you’ve got to love this horse,” said Pletcher who has now won a record six renewals of the Cigar Mile. “He’s cool. He’s done it consistently year after year at multiple distances. He’s a great horse to be able to train. He’s remarkably consistent and shows up every morning.
“When he broke well, I was happy and there was a moment in the first sixteenth of a mile where I wasn’t so sure if he was liking the surface, which a couple of times in the past he hadn’t cared for,” Pletcher added. “But then once he got into a good rhythm down the backside, I was confident. He’s the type of horse that if you get into a battle with him, he’s going to fight.”
Velazquez, who has been aboard Mind Control for 10 of his 12 career wins, said, “I’ve been around this horse for five years and he’s been a really decent horse and shows up to the big dances with really tough horses and he does it all the time.”
Bred in Kentucky by Red Oak Stable, Mind Control improved his record to 29-12-3-6 and he retires having amassed a bankroll of $2,185,834. He is produced from the Lightnin N Thunder mare Feel That Fire, a stakes winer and half-sister to multiple stakes winner and stallion King for a Day and a full sister to stakes winner Ima Jersey Girl. Mind Control is a half to Grade 1-placed Goddess of Fire.