HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Mind Your Biscuits launched his 3-year-old season with a victory over New York-bred competition at Aqueduct and ended the 2016 campaign with a triumph over Grade 1 rivals in the Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita.
The newly turned 4-year-old son of Posse is scheduled to kick off his 2017 season in Saturday’s $100,000 Gulfstream Park Sprint (G3).
“He’s a serious horse,” said Chad Summers, who co-owns Mind Your Biscuits in partnership that includes J Stables and Head of Plains Partners. “We think he has a really bright 2017 ahead of him.”
Summers has obtained his trainer’s license since the Malibu and is slated to saddle his first starter, Golden Pirate, for Friday’s sixth race at Gulfstream Park before sending out his first graded-stakes starter, Mind Your Biscuits, for Saturday’s $100,000 Gulfstream Park Sprint (G3).
Mind Your Biscuits concluded his 3-year-old season with a record that included graded-stakes victories in the Amsterdam (G2) at Saratoga and the Malibu (G1) at Santa Anita, as well as graded-stakes placings in the Gallant Bob (G3) at Parx and the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) at Santa Anita that preceded his Malibu score.
“The original plan after the Gallant Bob was to stop on him for the year and gear him up for this year for the Met Mile and the Carter and races like that,” said Summers, who was convinced Mind Your Biscuits would fit in the mentioned Grade 1 stakes after watching him close with a rush from far back to finish second behind multiple-stakes winner Noholdingback Bear in the Gallant Bob. “After the Gallant Bob he came out of the race so well. He was tearing down his stall after the race. We said, ‘Maybe he’s not done yet.’ He’s a horse that thrives on training.. We said, ‘We’ll play with him a little bit and see what happens.’ He worked for the Breeders’ Cup as well as he ever worked.”
Mind Your Biscuit demonstrated his ability to compete in Grade 1 company in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Santa Anita Nov. 5, closing from last to finish third, 1 ¼ lengths behind victorious pacesetter Defrong and a nose behind runner-up Masochistic, who was subsequently disqualified from second.
“Obviously, he may have been further back than he needed to be. Being 10 lengths behind on that type of track is tough to overcome, but he made up eight lengths in the stretch. He got beat a length and a quarter and he was galloping out in front of those horses,” Summers said. “We were proud of his effort. I thought he ran a great race. To be a New York-bred and be on the biggest stage in the Breeders’ Cup, that was huge.”
Mind That Biscuits returned to Santa Anita for the seven-furlong Malibu, in which he raced closer to the pace and got up in deep stretch to defeat favored Sharp Azteca by a half-length.
“After the Breeders’ Cup we knew how much he liked California, the track there. We brought him back to New York and made the decision if he trained well, we’d go ahead and run him in the Malibu. It’s a Grade 1. We brought him to California, and he trained super there,” Summers said. “We were expecting a big effort from him, but when you’re running against horses like Sharp Azteca, and with Bob Baffert sending three horses out for the race, you’ve got to make sure you’ve got your ‘A Game.’ We’re fortunate that we did.”
Mind Your Biscuits, who was flattered when Sharp Azteca followed up his runner-up finish in the Malibu with a 4 ½-length romp in the Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2) Feb. 11, is scheduled to be reunited with jockey Joel Rosario in the Gulfstream Sprint.
Multiple-graded stakes winner Unified is also scheduled to make his 2017 debut in the Gulfstream Sprint, set to return from an eight-month layoff since a sustain his first loss in the Pegasus Stakes (G3) at Monmouth in June.
“He ran so poor in his last race. He looked like he came out of the race okay, but when we went up to Saratoga, just generally speaking, it looked like he lost a lot of weight, and wasn't going quite as sound,” trainer James Jerkens said. “We couldn't pin it down to any one thing. We decided to give him the rest of the year."
Prior to his first defeat, the son of Candy Ride won three straight races, graduating at first asking at Gulfstream Park Feb. 21 before capturing the Bay Shore (G3) at Aqueduct April 9 and the Peter Pan (G2) at Belmont June 19.
“He had done a lot in a short time. We asked the impossible of him and he gave it to us,” Jerkens said. “He won the Bay Shore and we stretched him out in the Peter Pan. I think it got to him a little bit.”
Centennial Farms’ 4-year-old colt has a foundation of eight breezes, including a bullet five-furlongs in 59.95 seconds last Saturday at Palm Meadows Training Center, in preparation for his season starter.
"He's had of plenty of works,” Jerkens said. “He started back in training a little heavy and a little sluggish for while, but the last two or three works he has really got it together."
Jose Ortiz has the return mount aboard Unified.
Early Entry and Delta Bluesman, who finished 1-2, respectively, in the Sunshine Millions Sprint Jan. 21; Squadron A, who won the Mr. Prospector (G3) Jan. 1; and Divine Warrior, a stakes-placed runner who captured an optional claiming allowance at Gulfstream two starts back, round out the field.