Grade 1 winner Mind Control tops a field of six and Kentucky Derby points are up for grabs in Tuesday’s $150,000 Jerome Stakes. The New Year’s Day feature at Aqueduct will be contested at a one-turn mile.
As part of the Road to the Kentucky Derby series, the Jerome awards a total of 17 points to the top four finishers (10-4-2-1).
Mind Control broke his maiden in his second start at Monmouth Park and followed with a wire-to-wire win in the seven-furlong Hopeful (G1) at Saratoga in early September. He exits a troubled seventh in the November 2 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Churchill Downs, losing all chance with a poor start. Kentucky Derby-winning jockey John Velazquez rides the son of Stay Thirsty for owners Red Oak Stable and Madaket Stables and trainer Greg Sacco.
Direct Order makes his first stakes appearance after rallying to win a November 29 allowance/optional claiming event at Aqueduct. A Parx maiden victor two starts back, the Jason Servis-trained colt adds the services of Jose Lezcano. John Servis, Jason’s brother and trainer of 2004 Kentucky Derby hero Smarty Jones, will send out impressive last-out maiden winner Gates of Dawn. The son of Arch cost $450,000 at a two-year-old in training sale and regular rider Frankie Pennington will be in from Parx for the mount.
Completing the field are Souper Jackpot, who ships north after recording a neck second in the December 8 Smooth Air at Gulfstream Park; juvenile stakes winner Our Braintrust, who exits a runner-up in a restricted stakes race at Laurel Park; and last-out maiden scorer Family Biz.