Tenacious to the end, Red Oak Stable and Madaket Stable's Mind Control (Stay Thirsty) closed out his career with a win in the 2022 GI Cigar Mile, his third Grade I win and his 11th black-type victory. In a remarkable 29 starts over five years, Mind Control amassed total winnings of $2,185,834. In that race, as in all of Mind Control's stakes wins, he beat an impressive field of competitors, including favored Zandon, White Abarrio, and Get Her Number. Big numbers, indeed.
Numbers, as it turns out, will also be critical to his next career, as the Red Oak Stables homebred will stand at Rockridge Stud for a partnership that includes Red Oak and Madaket Stable, who raced him in partnership, as well as almost every New York farm invested in the Thoroughbred breeding business, including Irish Hill Farm, Rockridge, Dutchess Views Stallions, Waldorf Farm, and Hidden Lake Farm. Shareholders also include Joe McMahon of McMahon Farm, Saratoga Glen, and New Hill Farm.
Out of a fellow Red Oak homebred Feel That Fire (Lightnin N Thunder), a stakes-winning half-sister to MSW & GSP King For A Day (Uncle Mo) and a full to MSW Ima Jersey Girl, “He is probably one of the better horses, if not the best horse, that has ever come to New York,” said Michael Lischin of Dutchess Views Farms. The winning of the GI Cigar Mile is a great prep for being a stallion.”
Speaking to the TDN after the Cigar Mile, Todd Pletcher, who began training Mind Control in 2020, said, “If you like horse racing, you've got to love this horse. 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 we got the partnership together, it grew very quickly because, just like anything else, word of mouth goes very quickly,” said Lere Visage, owner of Rockridge Stud. “These are the bigger farms, all bound together to support a horse that they all think is going to be legit and that can improve the state and improve the mare base that we have. There's never been a partnership like that done in New York with any of the farms.”
The partners said they were confident in the quality of Mind Control's first book. Just before breeding season, to boost the stallion's chances, partners and prospective supporters purchased additional mares in Kentucky. And the partners' phones ring constantly, they said.
“Several trainers have booked mares to Mind Control,” said Visage. “They saw him as a racehorse. With that much heart and stamina, this horse is worth taking a look at. Nothing like Mind Control has ever stood in New York.”
In impressive New York style, Mind Control took his first Grade I in the 2018 Hopeful S. at Saratoga and his second in the H. Allen Jerkens Memorial S., also at Saratoga. In his first start for Pletcher, Mind Control won the GII John A. Nerud S. He won the Parx Dirt Mile two starts later, was third in the 2022 GI Carter H. Two months after that, he beat Hot Rod Charlie (Oxbow) in Monmouth's GIII Salvator Mile. In his last start before the Cigar Mile, he finished a neck behind the leader in the Sept. 24 Parx Dirt Mile, but was promoted to first via DQ.
“He won from six furlongs to a mile,” said Lischin. “To win a Grade I race at seven furlongs at two and three, and then continue on with stakes wins every year and closing out with a Grade I stakes race at six and over $2 million is a great race record. He beat Knicks Go, Firenze Fire, Instagrand, Zandon, and Hot Rod Charlie, amongst numerous others.”
Bringing the New York farms together as a stallion just like he brought racing fans together in his career, Mind Control has created excitement in the New York Thoroughbred breeding scene.
“He comes with a lot of credentials and that's kind of a solid beginning to a horse,” said Visage. “It is also very exciting to see, and kind of refreshing to know, that the farms can all work together and, you know, support a horse that they feel is worth supporting.”
Mind Control is will stand at $8,500 LFSN.