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Light on experience but loaded with potential, Mindframe looks to ascend to the top of the racing world in just his third career start in Saturday’s Belmont Stakes-G1 at Saratoga.

He drew the outside post position in the 10-horse field and was listed as the 7-2 morning line second choice behind Derby runner-up Sierra Leone (at 9-5), in a race which includes Kentucky Derby-G1 winner Mystik Dan and Preakness Stakes-G1 winner Seize the Grey.

Bred by R. Larry Johnson and foaled at Dance Forth Farm in Chestertown, Md., May 13, 2021, Mindframe was purchased for $600,000 by Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable at the 2022 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. He did not make his debut until March 30 of this year, but more than made up for lost time with a dominating 13 3/4-length win in a seven-furlong maiden special weight race on the Florida Derby undercard at Gulfstream Park. He earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 103 in that race, the highest figure for a first-time starter since September 2022. 

Mindframe made his two-turn debut next out, a 1 1/16-mile first-level allowance on the Kentucky Derby undercard May 4 at Churchill Downs. Sent off as the heavy 2-5 favorite, Mindframe lived up to expectations with an impressive 7 ½-length gate-to-wire victory.

Not long after that win, Mindframe arrived at Saratoga and has turned in three timed works for trainer Todd Pletcher. Most recently, he breezed four furlongs in :50.26 on June 1 over Saratoga’s Oklahoma training track. This year's Belmont Stakes distance has been shortened to 1 1/4 miles.

“He obviously has enormous talent, but he’s run in a maiden race and a mile-and-a-sixteenth allowance race,” Pletcher told the Daily Racing Form. “He’s running against the best 3-year-olds in the crop. They’re all more seasoned and more experienced than him. It’s asking a lot, but you’re talking about a horse that’s not only winning by impressive margins but running pretty fast times as well. [Speed] figures suggest he certainly fits with the top of the group.”

Should Mindframe win the Belmont, he’d be the first Maryland-bred to win the Test of Champions since August Belmont homebred Caveat did so in 1983. He’s the first Maryland-bred to run in the Belmont since 2002, when Preakness runner-up Magic Weisner finished fourth. 

Mindframe is by Constitution out of Johnson’s stakes-winning homebred mare Walk of Stars. Walk of Stars descends from Ran’s Chick (Mindframe’s fourth dam), purchased by Johnson for $2,400 at Timonium in 1978. Unraced due to bowed tendons, Ran’s Chick became the foundation mare for Johnson’s breeding operation. 

Mindframe is the fourth winner from as many foals to race for Walk of Stars. Her other winners are stakes-placed Hollywood Walk (Animal Kingdom), Star of Shanghai (Shanghai Bobby) and Starstreet (Munnings). Her most recent reported foal is a Maclean’s Music 2-year-old Virginia-bred colt named Lonesome Road, born May 25, 2022.

Regular rider Irad Ortiz Jr. has the mount on Mindframe. Post time is set for 6:41 p.m. Saturday. The race will be shown live on FOX from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

 

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