Sacco gears up Mind Control, Joevia for 4-year-old seasons

November 17, 2019 12:08pm

With Grade 1 winner Mind Control and Grade 1-placed Joevia back from their respective freshenings, trainer Greg Sacco put both through the paces Sunday morning at Belmont Park, where the 3-year-old colts began serious training toward racing as older horses.

Mind Control, who won Saratoga’s H. Allen Jerkens Stakes (G1) on Travers day, breezed three furlongs on Belmont’s training track in a snappy 36.85 seconds. Joevia, who last ran third after setting the pace in the Belmont Stakes, drilled 3/8 of a mile on the main track in 37.76 seconds.

Sacco said he’ll continue working both of his stable stars on a weekly basis through the new year before determining a spot to get started in, such as Aqueduct’s seven-furlong Toboggan Stakes (G3) traditionally run in mid-January.

“We’ll let them get ready at their pace,” Sacco said. “After their first races, we’ll map out the rest. The timing should be January for both, though.”

Long range, the Metropolitan Handicap (G1) is a goal for Red Oak Stable and Madaket Stables’ Mind Control. He’s 5-for-10 with other stakes victories in the Hopeful (G1), Jerome and Bay Shore in New York. His time off was by design given he’d remained in consistent training for more than a year.

Michael and Jeff Fazio’s Joevia could set his sights on the world’s richest race, the new $20 million Saudi Cup scheduled for Feb. 29. With just one off-the-board finish in six starts, he was entered in the Haskell Invitational (G1) but scratched the day of the race due to an inflamed foot that led connections to start thinking about 2020.

“It’s a lot to ask,” Sacco said of the Saudi Cup. “But if all goes according to plan, that’s something that wouldn’t be off the table. The Fazio brothers are interested in running there. Joevia needs to progress. Everything’s based on how much he gets out of the race when he comes back in January. The horse has to dictate where we’ll run.

Sacco said Joevia returned to his care “muscled up” and “has a lot of foundation in him.”

“Mind Control and Joevia both look great,” the trainer added. “I think with natural progression, they should be right in the mix of things next year with the older horses.”

2020 Saudi Cup


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