Mind Control, who capped his career with a win in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile in December, retires to Rockridge Stud in Hudson for the 2023 season. Joe Labozzetta/NYRA Photo.
Red Oak Stable’s and Madaket Stable’s multiple Grade 1 winner Mind Control, who capped his career with a gritty victory in the Cigar Mile Handicap, will enter stud in 2023 in New York. The 6-year-old son of Stay Thirsty will stand at Rockridge Stud in Hudson under the management of Irish Hill & Dutchess Views Stallions and Rockridge Stud.
Mind Control, who will stand for $8,500 live foal, stands and nurses, is the most accomplished horse to begin his stud career in New York in decades. Bred by Stephen P. Brunetti’s Red Oak Stable, Mind Control won 12 of 29 starts with three seconds and six thirds for $2,185,834 in earnings. He was a graded stakes winner in each of his five seasons on the racetrack, and a Grade 1 winner at 2, 3 and 6.
“We are excited and looking forward to standing Mind Control at Rockridge Stud,” said Red Oak Stable racing manager Rick Sacco. “There was considerable interest from stud farms in the U.S., Japan and the Middle East, but given that his three Grade 1 victories were on the NYRA circuit, we believe Rockridge Stud in the state of New York is the perfect place for Mind Control to begin his stallion career.
“Ultimately, Stephen Brunetti wanted the horse to stand in the U.S. Sol Kumin agreed, a deal was struck with Rockridge Stud, Irish Hill Farm and Dutchess Views Stallions, and a partnership was formed.”
Mind Control will serve stallion duty as the property of Rockridge Stud, Irish Hill Farm, Dutchess Views Stallions, Hidden Lake Farm, and Waldorf Farm, as well as Red Oak Stable and Madaket Stable.
“This is a significant development for Rockridge Stud, Irish Hill Farm, Dutchess Views Stallions and for the breeding industry in New York,” added Rockridge’s owner/operator Lere Visagie. “Getting this group of partners together to support Mind Control gives us a phenomenal opportunity to make him the most successful stallion to ever stand in the state.”
Mind Control’s first Grade 1 victory came in the 2018 Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga Race Course. Fresh off a 6-furlong maiden win at Monmouth Park in his second start for trainer Gregory Sacco, Mind Control shipped to upstate New York and won the 7-furlong Hopeful on the front end in 1:22.09.
Mind Control started his sophomore season with a victory in the Jerome Stakes at Aqueduct before returning again to Saratoga for another Grade 1 victory – in the 7-furlong H. Allen Jerkens Stakes in 1:21.43. He won two more stakes on the NYRA circuit as a 4-year-old, taking the Grade 3 Toboggan Stakes and Grade 3 Tom Fool Handicap, both at Aqueduct.
Mind Control and John Velazquez win the Cigar Mile. Chelsea Durand/NYRA Photo.
Transferred to Todd Pletcher in late spring 2021, Mind Control won his first start for the new barn in the Grade 2 John A. Nerud Stakes. He later added the first of two Parx Dirt Mile Stakes wins before taking three of six starts in 2022. Mind Control won the Grade 3 Salvator Mile Stakes at Monmouth Park and Parx Dirt Mile this year, before defeating Get Her Number, White Abarrio, Zandon and others in the $750,000 Cigar Mile.
“That was a phenomenal performance,” Pletcher said after the Cigar Mile win. “It’s just great to see him have a victory like that in his final career start. He deserved to go out that way.”
“It’s not only great for him to go out on a win, but for him to do it in the style that defines his character and fight off challenges from the Florida Derby winner on the inside, the American Pharoah winner on the outside. Three Grade 1-winners battling it out across the track. He showed that signature move of his where he puts his head in front and won’t be denied.”
Mind Control is the fourth foal out of the stakes-winning Lightnin N Thunder mare Feel That Fire. He’s a half-brother to four winners led by Goddess of Fire, runner-up in both the Grade 2 Rachel Alexandra Stakes and Gulfstream Park Oaks this past winter and spring and third in last summer’s Grade 1 Alabama Stakes at Saratoga Race Course. A debut winner at 2 at Saratoga who placed in two other stakes, Goddess of Fire earned $335,875 through Friday.
Feel That Fire is also the dam of winners Urban Burn, Gangbusters and My Gift From Above, and the 2-year-old Candy Ride filly White Hot Gold who made her debut Dec. 3 at Tampa Bay Downs.
“I’m extremely proud of everything Mind Control accomplished on the racetrack,” Brunetti said. “I’ve been breeding horses for 25 years and he’s the best one I’ve ever bred. From a breeding perspective, Mind Control has excellent conformation and size. He displayed fierce courage, he hails from a strong and active female family, and he won Grade 1 races from 7 furlongs to 1 mile.”
Rick Sacco described Mind Control’s final career start as almost like a movie ending.
“It was a fitting end to his impressive racing career and it was awesome that Johnny V. came in from California to ride Mind Control in his final race,” he said. “We’re very proud of the horse, our breeding program and the Red Oak Farm operation led by Barry Dolan. I just want to congratulate Todd and his entire team and to remember the excellent job my brother Gregg did with Mind Control earlier in his career winning two Grade 1 races.”
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