Mind Your Biscuits gets shot at becoming a classic contender

June 22, 2018 08:55am

Not long after Mind Your Biscuits finished a narrow second in the Met Mile, trainer Chad Summers announced his top sprinter would target a stretch out in the Aug. 3 Whitney Stakes at Saratoga.

The race choice came as a surprise to many, including myself. Mind Your Biscuits has put in some nice performances between 7/8 and a mile, but were they good enough to warrant a chance around two turns in one of New York’s premier races?

Those who doubt point to this sudden leap for its potential to increase the stud value of Mind Your Biscuits. A win would likely benefit him as a stallion, while a loss would simply be chalked up to the 5-year-old not liking the distance.

Summers says that’s not so, with Mind Your Biscuits to stand at Teruya Yoshida's Shadai Farm in Japan at the end of his career.

“Yoshida was interested in him as a stallion because of his brilliant speed, and they want to bring more speed into their racing program in Japan,” Summers said. “Of course, they were excited to hear that he would be stretching out for the Whitney, but his value as a stallion wasn’t a factor in this decision.”

Summers rather would like to see if he can put the world’s richest race — the
Pegasus World Cup — on Mind Your Biscuits’ radar. It, too, runs at nine furlongs in January.

“I have been wanting to stretch him out for a while,” Summers said. “I’ve always thought he’d do well stretching out, and I’ve been saying that I want to run him in the Pegasus and everyone thought I was crazy. But now seems like a good time.”

And he’s right. The older male division, especially on the East Coast, is sorely lacking in stars.

For instance, Irish War Cry and Backyard Heaven are both fast, talented horses going a route of ground. But they need the lead as well as cooler conditions, with both off the board last weekend in the Stephen Foster Handicap on a steamy night at Churchill Downs.

Another positive is that with 22 races under his belt, and three and a half seasons of racing. Mind Your Biscuits sports a great foundation. That should aid him in his first attempt at nine furlongs.

“Without a question, 100 percent, his foundation will help him in the Whitney,” said Summers. “When he was younger, there was no way he’d go this far. He was way too headstrong. But now he’s older and more mature, and I really believe it will help him stretching out.

“Most people say that you can’t stretch a sprinter out because they are too fast — that they have to run that opening half in 44. But Biscuits isn’t like that. I know in sprints, he has that hold-your-breath, last-minute move.

“Stretching out, he’s more of a grinder, and that nearly won him the Met Mile.”

Mind Your Biscuits ended up a diminishing nose behind Bee Jersey, a rising star from the Steve Asmussen barn, while also earning some of the strongest speed figures of his career.

Concern moving on to the Whitney is Saratoga itself. In five starts there, Mind Your Biscuits has only won once, and that was the Amsterdam Stakes (G2) going six and a half furlongs. In his other stakes attempts he finished fifth in the King’s Bishop (G1) and a lackluster sixth in the Forego (G1).

To be fair, he did run second twice over the track, but both of those efforts came against much softer competition, in maiden special weight company.

Should Mind Your Biscuits struggle over the surface as he did in 2017, Summers said he could form a backup plan.

“There really isn’t that much here after the Whitney,” he said. “You have the Phillip Islin at eMonmouth, but that is only eight and a half furlongs, and the Lukas Classic (at Churchill), but that is later in the season.

“Though if he struggles over Saratoga, we could always ship to Del Mar for the Pacific Classic. Of course, we’d have to face horses like Pavel and Accelerate, but we’ve shipped well to California before, and this isn’t about trying to find the easiest spot.”

Going for the Whitney offers far more benefits than drawbacks, because ultimately Mind Your Biscuits can return to sprints. Giving a proven horse a try, however, opens up all sorts of new possibilities, including the Breeders’ Cup Classic, which Summers said would be on the table with a nice performance.


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Meet Laura Pugh

Laura Pugh got her first taste of Thoroughbred racing when she watched War Emblem take the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in 2002. At that point, she fell in love with the sport, reading every piece of news and information she could get her fingertips on.

Laura has a long history with horses in general, taking her first ride on her fifth birthday, with her first official riding lesson when she was eight years old. Both years she attended college, she joined her school’s equestrian team, first at Virginia Intermont College and then again at Delaware State University. Unfortunately, after back and shoulder injuries, she had to hang up her saddle. 

In 2010, Laura began writing for Horse Racing Nation and has also contributed to Lady and the Track, TwinSpires and USRacing. She currently works at a local newspaper as a community reporter.

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