2021 Carter Handicap Contenders and Odds

Horse Betting Online

NYRA Press Release
Updated: April 01, 2021

Cash is King and LC Racing's Mischevious Alex will look to breakthrough at the highest level in Saturday's Grade 1, $300,000 Carter Handicap, a seven-furlong sprint for older horses at Aqueduct Racetrack.

The historic Carter is the first Grade 1 of 2021 on the NYRA circuit as part of a loaded five-stakes card headlined by the Grade 2, $750,000 Wood Memorial presented by Resorts World Casino, offering 100-40-20-10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the top-four finishers.

Also featured Saturday are a trio of Grade 3 stakes, including the $250,000 Gazelle at nine furlongs for sophomore fillies offering 100-40-20-10 Kentucky Oaks qualifying points; the $200,000 Bay Shore, a seven-furlong sprint for sophomores; and the $150,000 Excelsior at nine furlongs for older horses.

2021 Carter Handicap Field & Odds

Race 6 at Aqueduct on Saturday, April 3 - Post 3:25 PM

Entry Horse ML Odds Jockey Trainer
1 Mind Control 4-1 Junior Alvarado
123 Lbs
Gregory Sacco
2 Souper Stonehenge 12-1 Tyler Gaffalione
118 Lbs
Mark Casse
3 Shoplifted 5-1 Jose Ortiz
119 Lbs
Steven Asmussen
4 Mischevious Alex 6-5 Irad Ortiz, Jr.
123 Lbs
Saffie Joseph, Jr.
5 Chateau 8-5 Kendrick Carmouche
120 Lbs
Rob Atras

Mischevious Alex, a 4-year-old Into Mischief colt trained by Saffie Joseph, Jr., won the one-turn mile Grade 3 Gotham at Aqueduct and seven-furlong Grade 3 Swale at Gulfstream Park last year for former conditioner John Servis.

The versatile dark bay is perfect in two starts since joining the Joseph, Jr. stable, including a prominent score in the Grade 3 Gulfstream Park Sprint on February 13 last out traveling six furlongs on a fast track.

Joseph, Jr. said Mischevious Alex has proven his ability over multiple distances and tracks.

"I feel pretty confident with him at six furlongs. He's won at seven furlongs and he's won over that track already at a mile," said Joseph, Jr. "I like that he's won on the track and I think seven furlongs is well within his reach."

Irad Ortiz, Jr., winner of the last three Eclipse Awards for Outstanding Jockey, will have the call on Mischevious Alex from post 4. The 28-year-old Ortiz, Jr. enjoyed a tremendous winter at Gulfstream with a record-setting 140 wins at the championship meet.

Joseph, Jr. said the accomplished jockey will have plenty of options to find a winning trip.

"He's very versatile," said Joseph, Jr of Mischevious Alex. "If they're going slow enough, he could be on the lead. If not, he's very rateable for a horse with a lot of speed."

Red Oak Stable and Madaket Stables' Mind Control will look to add a fourth Grade 1 win at a third NYRA track following previous success in the 2018 Hopeful at Saratoga, the 2019 Woody Stephens at Belmont and the 2019 H. Allen Jerkens at Saratoga.

The 5-year-old Stay Thirsty horse has enjoyed past success at the Big A, where he is 4-for-5, including scores in the 2019 Grade 3 Bay Shore and last year's Grade 3 Toboggan and Grade 3 Tom Fool Handicap.

Mind Control finished third last out in the Grade 3 Mr. Prospector, a seven-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds and up won by Sleepy Eyes Todd on December 19 at Gulfstream Park.

Junior Alvarado has the call from the inside post.

Michael Dubb's Chateau is the likely pacesetter after making the grade last out in the Grade 3 Tom Fool Handicap, a six-furlong sprint on March 6 at the Big A that garnered the 6-year-old Flat Out gelding a career-best 100 Beyer Speed Figure.

Trained by Rob Atras, Chateau boasts a record of 7-9-8 from 33 career starts but has never won past 6 1/2-furlongs.

Chateau worked a swift four furlongs in 49.49 on March 20 over the Belmont dirt training track and followed with an easy half-mile in 51.66 on Saturday.

"He's coming off just shy of a month between starts," said Atras. "He's run his best performances when we were about six or seven weeks in between races, so a month isn't too bad. You would like to have more time off after such a big performance like his last race, but his last two works were good, and he came out of the Tom Fool pretty well."

Kendrick Carmouche retains the mount from post 5.

Grandview Equine, Cheyenne Stables and LNJ Foxwoods' Shoplifted is multiple Grade 1-placed, posting a runner-up effort in the one-mile 2019 Hopeful at Saratoga and last year was the third-place finisher traveling seven furlongs in both the Woody Stephens at Belmont and H. Allen Jerkens at the Spa.

The 4-year-old Into Mischief colt has banked $527,000 via a record of 11-2-2-3, including a win in the 2019 Springboard Mile at Remington Park. Shoplifted finished second last out in his seasonal debut when bested by next-out winner Special Reserve in an optional-claiming sprint on February 6 over a sloppy track at Oaklawn Park.

Shoplifted will emerge from post 3 under Jose Ortiz.

Rounding out the field is Live Oak Plantation's homebred Souper Stonehenge. Trained by Hall of Famer Mark Casse, the 5-year-old Speightstown gelding will make his Big A debut from a runner-up effort in the six-furlong Pelican on February 13 at Tampa Bay Downs.

Tyler Gaffalione will guide Souper Stonehenge from post 2.

The Carter is slated as Race 6 on Saturday's 11-race program. First post is 12:50 p.m. Eastern.

Pre-Draw News

Mischevious Alex Ready for G1 Carter Handicap

Trainer Saffie Joseph, Jr. will have a strong presence on Saturday's Wood Memorial card led by Mischevious Alex in the Grade 1, $300,000 Carter for older sprinters and Drain the Clock in the Grade 3, $200,000 Bay Shore for sophomore sprinters.

Joseph, Jr., who has picked up 12 stalls at Belmont Park, is hoping to get off to a strong start in his first full-time foray into New York racing.

"We're coming in with good horses in 'Alex' and Drain the Clock and it would be nice to get off to a good start," said Joseph, Jr. "I think we have a very strong set of horses."

Cash Is King and LC Racing's Mischievous Alex worked a half-mile in company in a sharp 47.14 on the Gulfstream Park main track.

The 4-year-old Into Mischief colt captured the Grade 3 Gotham at the Big A in March 2020. He enters Saturday's test from a prominent score in the six-furlong Grade 3 Gulfstream Park Sprint on February 13.

"He worked really good. He sat off a workmate and finished off the last quarter in 22 and 4," said Joseph, Jr. "He worked as good as we could ask coming into the race. He's in good form. I think he has a very good chance of notching his first Grade 1."

Irad Ortiz, Jr., winner of the last three Eclipse Awards for Outstanding Jockey, will have the call on both horses. The 28-year-old Ortiz, Jr. returns to ride at Aqueduct on Thursday, opening day of the spring meet, after a tremendous winter at Gulfstream with a record-setting 138 wins, with one card remaining in the championship meet.

"He's a great rider and he's in top class form right now," said Joseph, Jr.

Mind Control works in preparation for G1 Carter Handicap

Mind Control, Red Oak Stable and Madaket Stables' multiple Grade 1-winner, breezed six furlongs in 1:13 flat Saturday (March 20) at Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida in preparation for a start in the Grade 1, $300,000 Carter Handicap on April 3 on the Wood Memorial undercard at Aqueduct Racetrack.

"He had a great work yesterday going three-quarters in 1:13 solo and he galloped out strong," trainer Gregg Sacco said. "He came out of the work super and was bucking and jumping this morning. We have one more work next Saturday at Palm Meadows and then he will fly to New York."

Mind Control finished third last out in the Grade 3 Mr. Prospector, a seven-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds and up won by Sleepy Eyes Todd on December 19 at Gulfstream Park.

"We gave Mind Control a little break after he ran in the Mr. Prospector and he has come back as good as ever," said Sacco. "He had six weeks off at Good Chance Farm and it did him a world of good. He came back really fresh and happy."

Mind Control is a three-time Grade 1 winner with scores in the 2018 Hopeful at Saratoga, the 2019 Woody Stephens at Belmont and the 2019 H. Allen Jerkens at Saratoga. He has enjoyed previous success at the Big A, where he is 4-for-5, with scores in the 2019 Grade 3 Bay Shore and last year's Grade 3 Toboggan and Grade 3 Tom Fool Handicap.

Sacco said Mind Control is in fine fettle approaching his seasonal debut.

Horse Racing Rebates

"This might be his last season to race, so we'd like to make every race count. Going into a Grade 1 off the layoff, we wanted to make sure he had all the preparation needed," said Sacco. "We had an alternative here next weekend at Gulfstream in the Sir Shackleton, but Mind Control loves Aqueduct and he's training as good as we can expect. He looks fantastic, his coat is great and his weight is great. He's really wintered well."

The 5-year-old Stay Thirsty bay will look to make amends for a sixth-place effort in last year's Carter, won by Vekoma over a sloppy main track in June at Belmont Park.

"We had the Carter penciled in last year and unfortunately with the pandemic it was set back to Belmont on a sloppy day, which he hates," said Sacco. "This year, I hope we catch good weather."

Sacco said Junior Alvarado, currently enjoying a productive winter at Gulfstream Park, will have the call on Mind Control in the Carter. Alvarado was aboard for a rallying 1 1/4-length score in last year's Grade 3 Tom Fool Handicap at the Big A.

"Junior is one-for-one on him and rode him terrific. He worked him a few times last winter for us in New York," said Sacco. "Junior is having an outstanding winter here and riding lights out. He made a good choice to come to south Florida this year and show off his skills and I think he'll come back to New York with a head of steam."

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2021 Carter Handicap on the radar for Mischevious Alex

Mischevious Alex, Cash Is King Racing and LC Racing's two-time graded stakes winner, victorious in last year's Grade 3 Gotham, will be eyeing a return to Aqueduct Racetrack for the Grade 1, $300,000 Carter Handicap on April 3.

Trained by Saffie Joseph, Jr., the son of 2020 leading sire Into Mischief returned to the winner's circle for the first time since the Gotham in his most recent start, a six-furlong allowance optional claimer on January 10 at Gulfstream Park.

Chuck Zacney, owner of Cash Is King Racing, said Mischevious Alex would race before the Carter and could either remain in South Florida for the Grade 3, $100,000 Gulfstream Park Sprint or could ship to Maryland for the Grade 3, $250,000 General George at Laurel Park. Both races are carded for Saturday, February 13.

"The Carter is absolutely on our radar," said Zacney. "He's doing really well right now. We remain optimistic about him."

Mischevious Alex displayed frontrunning tactics when taking last year's Gotham, a one-turn mile which he won by two lengths. He arrived at the Gotham off a triumph in the Grade 3 Swale at Gulfstream Park at seven furlongs.

Initially trained by John Servis, Mischevious Alex was moved to Joseph's barn in the winter.

"I wanted him to train in a warm weather spot for the winter, so we sent him down to Saffie and he's done an excellent job with him," Zacney said.

Mischevious Alex is out of the Speightstown mare White Pants Night and was bred in Kentucky by WinStar Farm. He has banked $387,730 through a 10-5-1-1 career, having won over three different racetracks.

Zacney expressed excitement about John Servis trainee Five Tool Player, a $900,000 acquisition from the 2019 OBS March Sale, who makes his career debut in Race 9 on Saturday at the Big A, a one-turn mile for maidens 4-years-old and up.

Owned by Cash Is King Racing and D.J. Stable, the 4-year-old son of Medaglia d'Oro has been training forwardly for his connections at Parx Racing. On January 12, Five Tool Player breezed a half-mile in 49.44 seconds over the Philadelphia oval - the fastest of 38 works recorded at the distance.

"We bought him about a year and a half ago," Zacney recalled. "He's a big, beautiful horse, but it took a little longer with him than we expected. Over the last four to six weeks, he's been training really well and we're optimistic for a big run from him."

Zacney said Five Tool Player could be a horse that favors longer distances.

"There were a few spots that came up that were six furlongs, but we were hoping for something around seven or eight [furlongs]," Zacney said. "Even though it's one turn, we're happy to see New York card this race that's a mile."

Big A winter meet leading rider Kendrick Carmouche has the call aboard Five Tool Player from post 5 at morning-line odds of 8-1.

Bred in Kentucky by Town and Country Farms and Pollock Farms, Five Tool Player is the fourth progeny out of the graded stakes placed Tapit mare Rashnaa.

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