Mind Your Biscuits Wears Bull's-Eye in Belmont Sprint
By Alicia Wincze Hughes, courtesy Blood-Horse
Mind Your Biscuits has always thrived with a target to pursue.
When the son of Posse earned his first grade 1 win in the Dec. 26 Malibu Stakes, he stalked Sharp Azteca as that one battled Jazzy Times and then wore down his rival with a determined stretch surge. When the 4-year-old chestnut notched a three-length win in the March 25 Dubai Golden Shaheen Sponsored By Gulf News (G1), it was the culmination of a rally that began with him near the back of the 14-horse field with 400 meters to go.
Stylistically, little is likely to change for the New York-bred dynamo in the July 8 $350,000 Belmont Sprint Championship Stakes (G2). From a figurative standpoint, Mind Your Biscuits will bear the bull's-eye that six challengers will zero in on during the seven-furlong test at Belmont Park.
The colt figures to be a favorite when post time arrives Saturday, a tribute to his class given that he will be joined by graded stakes winners Green Gratto, Stallwalkin' Dude, Tommy Macho, and the Jimmy Jerkens-trained Unified, who held off Mind Your Biscuits with a neck victory in the Gulfstream Park Sprint Stakes (G3) in February.
With the exception of a fifth-place run in last year's Ketel One King's Bishop Stakes (G1) for previous trainer Robert Falcone Jr., Mind Your Biscuits has not finished worse than third in his last 11 outings. He was never better than he was over the rain-soaked track at Meydan Racecourse, where he overcame the far outside post and closed down the middle of the track to give co-owner Chad Summers his first win as a trainer.
After a brief freshening at Taylor Made Farm, Mind Your Biscuits returned to Summers and impressed his connections on the work tab. After he threw down a four-furlong move in :47 1/5 at Belmont June 11, he then registered a bullet five-furlong breeze in :58.19 June 23.
"It's a 'Win and You're In' race for the (grade 1) Breeders' Cup (Sprint) and everyone wants to get to the Breeders' Cup," Summers said of Saturday's test. "Jimmy Jerkens is one of the best trainers in the country, and you have to respect Green Gratto and all the rest of them, but right now, 'Biscuits' is in his prime. He's going to be really tough to beat.
"We know we have the target on our back, but we are going to be coming for it."
Summers, part of the ownership team that includes J Stables and Head of Plains Partners, took over the training duties for Mind Your Biscuits after the Malibu Stakes. The colt has five wins from 15 starts with $2,015,166 in earnings.
"He worked last week and he went around :57, but he's able to come back this week (June 30) and work a half in (:51.23)," Summers said. "There aren't a lot of horses that can do that. Usually, when you're fast, you're fast, but he's able to ease off the throttle. There's not another horse in the entire country—including (champion) Arrogate—that I'd rather go to war with."
Centennial Farms' Unified will be making his third start of the year and first since he finished a neck behind Green Gratto in the seven-furlong Carter Handicap (G1) April 8 at Aqueduct Racetrack. The son of Candy Ride started his career on a three-race win streak, which included victories in the grade 3 Bay Shore and grade 2 Peter Pan Stakes, before he was turned out following his unsuccessful two-turn debut in the Betfair.com Pegasus Stakes (G3) last summer.
"I feel good coming in," Jerkens said. "It's a very tough spot. Seven (furlongs) is tough. You've got to be running the whole way, especially with his style. Mind Your Biscuits is one of the best horses I've seen in a long time and you know he's going to be coming. But you've got to run to see where you're at."
Mark Casse trainee Awesome Slew will cut back in distance following his fourth-place finish in the Mohegan Sun Metropolitan Handicap (G1) June 10. The 4-year-old colt by Awesome Again posted a 1 1/2-length victory in the Commonwealth Stakes (G3) at Keeneland in April and finished second in the Churchill Downs Stakes presented by Twinspires.com (G2) May 6, both at seven furlongs.
"He's had decent luck going seven-eighths," Casse said. "I think he got back a little farther than we would've liked in the Met Mile, but we're hoping he's a little sharper for this. He's come back great and he's been training really well. I think this is a good spot for him. Obviously when you go shorter, there's more pace and last time at the mile, I think it went a little slow, so we're hoping for a little better set-up."