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Kentucky Derby and Horse Racing at The Downey Profile®

Strong Field of Five in Bay Shore


Off Derby Trail, Still A Formidable Group

Mind Control will abandon the Kentucky Derby trail to make his third one-mile start in succession in Saturday's Bay Shore for 3-year-olds at Aqueduct Racetrack.

The 59th running of the seven-furlong Bay Shore, carded as Race 6 on Saturday's 11-race card is one of five graded stakes on a day highlighted by the Wood Memorial presented by NYRA Bets, Carter, Gazelle and Excelsior Stakes. MSG Networks' live coverage starts with Saturday's 2 ½-hour broadcast at 3 p.m.

A bay son of Stay Thirsty, Mind Control made his graded stakes debut a winning one in the Grade 1 Hopeful at Saratoga Race Course. Sent off at odds of 10-1 in the Hopeful, he bested a field of eight by three-quarters of a length.

Returning in the fall to finish a subpar seventh in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile on Nov. 2 at Churchill Downs, Mind Control rebounded to win the Jerome on New Year's Day at the Big A, collecting 10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to kick off his 2019 campaign for owners Red Oak Stable and Madaket Stables.

Mind Control finished second last out in the Gotham on March 9, while showing a new dimension when battling from off-the-pace to pick up an additional 20 Derby qualifying points.

Connections decided to switch gears from pursuing a start in the Wood Memorial and instead entered the Bay Shore.

"We really gave the Wood some considerable thought," said Sacco. "After speaking with our owners, we ultimately opted to enter the Bay Shore because we're confident with his ability going one turn and having the opportunity to not only run in a graded stakes at seven furlongs here, but also using this as prep to have the chance to get another grade 1 with him in the Woody Stephens."

John Velazquez is named to ride

"Johnny knows this colt so well," said Sacco. "I expect he'll be somewhere on the front end as he has a good amount of speed, but we'll ultimately leave it up to Johnny. He is coming into this race in great condition out of his last work, so we're excited and looking forward to Saturday."

Mind Control will depart from post 3.

Set to make his second start at Aqueduct following a fourth-place finish in the Gotham after setting a hot pace is Much Better for trainer Bob Baffert.

The homebred sired by the late multiple graded stakes winner Pioneerof the Nile won his debut last September at Del Mar before switching surfaces to the turf, where he picked up a second-place finish in the Zuma Beach on Oct. 8 at Santa Anita.

Following a 14th-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf, he returned to the dirt to finish third in the Sham at Santa Anita. After an optional-claiming victory on Feb. 9 at Santa Anita, Much Better shipped east to enter the Gotham.

Much Better has posted two bullet works at four and five furlongs in preparation for the Bay Shore, and Baffert said he is looking forward to a good effort from the dark bay owned by Three Chimneys Farm.

"Initially, we took our shot in the Gotham to see if we could pick up any Derby points, and I thought he gave a gutsy effort," said Baffert. "We kept him in New York where he's put in three really good works. We think the cutback should benefit him, and he's already won twice sprinting, so he should be right there in the mix."

With Victor Espinoza named to ride, Much Better will leave from the rail.

Trainer Jason Servis entered multiple graded stakes winner Call Paul for owners Michael Dubb, David Simon, Bethlehem Stables LLC, and Bruce Irom.

Purchased for $210,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Mid Atlantic 2-year-old in training sale, the Friesan Fire colt has four wins from six career starts. After winning the Saratoga Special last August he went on to pick up a pair of third-place finishes in the Champagne at Belmont last October and the Nashua in November at Aqueduct before capping his juvenile year with a win in the Pennsylvania Nursery at Parx.

Making his 2019 debut at Gulfstream, Call Paul bested a field of 11 to win the Swale Stakes by 1 1/4 length.

With recent Aqueduct winter meet leading rider Manny Franco named to ride, Call Paul will depart from post 4.

Mucho, who finished second behind Mind Control in the Hopeful, arrives at the Bay Shore from a strong 1 1/4-length score in an optional claiming event at Gulfstream on March 1.

Trained by Bill Mott, Mucho will leave from post 2 under Jose Ortiz.

Completing the field is Mount Travers, an allowance winner trained by Linda Rice for Alpha Delta Stables. Junior Alvarado has the call from the outermost post.

Edited release

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