By Sarah Mace
Mind Your Biscuits is back – back from Dubai, back to the races and back to the winner’s circle.
On Saturday afternoon, the 4-year-old New York-bred, New York-sired son of Posse scored a confident victory from just off the pace in the Grade 2, $350,000 Belmont Sprint Championship, a “Win and You’re In” qualifying race for the TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint. The performance adds strength to case that the colt deserves to be ranked as the top sprinter in the country.
Mind Your Biscuits’ much-anticipated return to the races followed a dazzling win in Group 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen at Meydan Racecourse on March 25. As it happened, that win was also the first training victory for 32-year-old Chad Summers, a veteran horseman and part-owner of the colt, who took over training duties in 2017 from Robert Falcone Jr. Mind Your Biscuits broke his maiden on April 5, 2016 for Falcone, won the Grade 2 Amsterdam Stakes at the Spa on July 30 and scored his first Grade 1 victory in the Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita on December 26, after which which he was crowned 2016 New York-bred Horse of the Year.
After his Dubai triumph and a well-deserved freshening at Taylor Made Farm, Mind Your Biscuits returned to the work tab May 28 and progressed quickly to race-readiness, firing four- and five-furlong bullets and completing his preparations with a relaxed half-mile on June 30.
Lined up in post two for the Sprint Championship under regular rider Joel Rosario, Mind Your Biscuits faced six formidable rivals from the likeable and talented East Coast sprint division: Stallwalkin’ Dude at the rail, Fellowship in post three, Tommy Macho, Awesome Slew, Green Gratto and, in the outside stall, Unified. Mind Your Biscuits went off as the 7-5 favorite, but Unified, who finished a neck ahead of Mind Your Biscuits last spring in the Grade 3 Gulfstream Park Sprint, enjoyed a good deal of support at odds of 2-1.
Mind Your Biscuits spent the early part of the race just off the rail in fourth position, five lengths behind pacesetter Green Gratto, who led the duo of Unified and Stallwalkin’ Dude by three lengths through early fractions of 22.67 and 45.64.
Beginning his bid in the far turn, Mind Your Biscuits got on even terms with Stallwalkin’ Dude and moved into third, edged out a path, then took a narrow lead at the head of the lane.
Awesome Slew initiated a challenge from fifth position in upper stretch, but was simply outmatched as Mind Your Biscuits began to open up daylight. In the final furlong Mind Your Biscuits strode out under encouragement and crossed the finish line a 3 1/2-length winner in a final time of 1:21.84 over the fast Belmont main track. [VIDEO REPLAY]
“We were going seven furlongs, so I thought maybe he should be a little bit closer,” explained Rosario. “He broke very well and we settled behind some horses and then [Unified] came a little bit over me so I just had to be there and follow. I was in the perfect spot.”
Added Rosario, “He does everything on his own, easy. Everything he does is just right. He’s great. He went to Dubai and won there and he comes back and wins again.”
“We know how good he was training going into this,” Summers commented. “There were still some doubters who said it was a subpar Dubai. We didn’t think so. We know what he’s capable of and we’re ready for the rest of the year.”
The trainer continued, “It makes me think a mile won’t be a problem for him, maybe a little bit further. He kept going and going and kicked away. We’ll go to the [Grade 1] Forego [August 26 at Saratoga] right now and then look at all options. But the Forego is our next goal and hopefully [win] an Eclipse Award as well.”
Despite his confidence in Mind Your Biscuits, Summers confessed to suffering a few nerves about this first race back after the Dubai trip. “You always have that doubt. I didn’t sleep at all last night. But the American horses have come back great. Stallwalkin’ Dude won a stakes; Gun Runner. It’s just one of those things where you cross your fingers and do everything you possibly can and you hope they come back OK. It showed today that he did.”
Bred by Jumping Jack Racing LLC and foaled at Sue and Gary Lundy’s Cedar Ridge Farm in Pine Plains, Mind Your Biscuits is one of three winners from three foals to start out of Jazzmane, an unraced Kentucky-bred daughter of Toccet and a half-sister to Canadian champion 3-year-old filly Kimchi (Langfuhr). The mare has two more reported foals who have not yet started: a 3-year-old full sister to Mind Your Biscuits and juvenile colt by Officer.
Mind Your Biscuits was purchased as a short yearling by Carrie Brogden of Machmer Hall at the 2014 Keeneland January sale. After he RNA’d for $47,000 at the Fasig-Tipton New York-bred preferred yearling sale, point Summers and Susan Montanye purchased the colt privately as a pinhooking prospect A buyback once again at last year’s OBS Spring 2-year-old sale, Summers bought out the colt and, over time, lined up J Stables LLC, Head of Plains Partners and Michael E. Kisber to complete Mind Your Biscuits’ ownership group.
The colt, who has racked up a pair of Grade 1 and a pair of Grade 2 victories, as well as multiple stakes placings, has banked $2,207,166 from six wins, six seconds and two thirds.