To the savvy horse players keeping eyes on the derby trail, Mo Tom has continued to garner some serious interest. In the latest pool of the Kentucky Derby Futures Wager, Mo Tom was a relative outside shot at 15/1. This may seem like wide odds for a contender, but those close to the sport no otherwise. The derby contenders on the west coast are Mor Spirit at 12/1 and Danzing Candy at 17/1.
As is usually the case, Mo Tom is in the thick of it.
The GMB Racing product will run out of the center gate this weekend at the Louisiana Derby giving him a resounding advantage in the 11-horse field. He is currently the odds on favorite to win at 5/2. Mo Tom’s post certainly seems to be giving way to his number this weekend as he’s facing some familiar competition.
Most recently, Mo Tom ran in the Risen Star in late February. He placed third behind two horses that are featured in this weekend’s Louisana Derby. Gun Runner holds 3/1 odds as the third favorite, while Forevamo will open on the outside with 10/1 odds.
The horse most likely to give Mo Tom a real run for his money, however, is Greepointcrusader at 7/2. The 2015 winner of the Champagne Stakes fell short in a bid at the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile where he tumbled to 7th place in a dense field. But a positively brutish, second place showing at the Holy Bull Stakes behind Moyahmen reignited the spark surrounding Greenpointcrusader. He may be just behind Mo Tom in the Louisiana Derby odds, but he’s miles behind in the Kentucky Derby futures. Greenpointcrusader has long odds of 29/1 in that market.
A handful of other contenders will toss their names in to the hat, but everyone will be targeting Mo Tom . Boosting his overall profile will be jockey Tom Amoss, a son of the state who is excited at the chance to saddle the favorite at the Louisiana Derby. “The local fans come out to see this horse and I don’t want to let them down,” Amoss stated in a conference call.
Indeed, this is a pivotal race for almost everyone in the field. Mo Tom and Greepointcrusader are the on-paper favorites, but there is value to be had with upstarts like Gun Runner in the mix as well. Whomever wins will be hurling directly in to the teeth of the derby trail with a lot of momentum. This is a race that none of them can afford to lose if they stand a hope of challenging the top-four horses come Triple Crown season.
Peter Moody may be calling it quits after a storied career in the sport of horse racing. The Australian trainer was hit with a six-month ban for an unintentional, though culpable, administration of cobalt to one of his horses during the 2014 season. Cobalt can aid in the production of oxygen in the blood, essentially making it a performance enhancer that allows for a type of doping.
The twelve month ban also carries a six month suspension, which ultimately led to Moody making a very tough decision. “After a lot of deliberation with my family and senior management staff, we didn’t feel it was going to be a viable or workable proposition to employ another trainer to care take the stable for the six-month period of my suspension,” Moody stated. “I have made the ultimate decision that at this point in time I will not be returning to the training of racehorses in the foreseeable future.”
Moody walks away from an established career. He is a renowned Australian trainer who has more than 300 horses under his care and supervision. He is most famous for guiding Black Caviar, the top ranked thoroughbred in the world in 2013. Black Caviar remained undefeated for 25 races, winning the Australia Stakes, the Schweppes Stakes and the William Reid Stakes amongst plenty more.
John Bowman is the chairman of the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board and closed his arguments concerning the now tainted Australian trainer with this statement: “It is readily apparent from the evidence before us that there was significant carelessness, for which Mr. Moody was responsible, in relation to the operation of his stables. This is particularly so in relation to the administration of cobalt, as well as general feeding, supplementation, and injection procedures.
Whether Moody returns to the sport after the completion of his ban remains to be seen. More than anything he seems embarrassed and frustrated by the outcome of the hearing. A year to cool off may change his mind and bring the famous Australian trainer back in to the fold of competition where he belongs.
From 2014 to 2015, the Equine Injury Database reported a 14 percent decrease in fatal injuries occurred in Thoroughbred races. It dropped from 1.89/1,000 starts in 2014 to 1.62/1,000 starts (across all distances, ages, and surfaces) in 2015. That 1.62 number is the lowest equine fatality rate since stats were published by the Equine Injury Database in 2009.
The statistics for the report are based on injuries that led to fatalities within 72 hours of the race’s date. Summary stats could change due to a number of factors such as reporting timelines.
Since the results were made public in 2009, patterns have shown that synthetic surfaces have the lowest fatality rate, then turf, and then dirt. Synthetic surfaces had an equine fatality rate of 1.18/1,000 races; 1.22/1,000 on grass, and 1.78 on dirt. Each course type saw drops from the year before, and the 1.78 number for dirt tracks is the first time it has ever been under 2.00.
“We’ve seen a significant decrease in the number of fatalities and that is certainly very encouraging,” said University of Glasgow veterinarian and epidemiologist Dr. Tim Parkin, who performed the fatality rate analysis. “We will continue to examine data and look for trends, but the wide-ranging safety initiatives embraced by tracks, horsemen, and regulators in recent years have very likely played a role in the reduction of injuries and fatalities.”
The lowest rate of catastrophic injuries belongs to two-year-olds, followed by three-year-olds, and then four years and above.
“These improving fatality rates are clear evidence that we can move the needle and that the efforts of so many are truly bearing fruit,” said Dr. Mary Scollay, who is an equine medical director at the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.
Martin Garcia Has Big Saturday Riding 3 Stakes Winners
In May of 2010, Martin Garcia rode the Bob Baffert trainee Lookin at Lucky to victory in the 135th running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course. This past Saturday, Garcia rode another potential Preakness entry to victory when Cupid claimed the $900,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) at Oaklawn Park.
Garcia followed the Cupid win with a pair of stakes wins at Sunland Park on Sunday. For his efforts and stakes wins, Garcia was honored with the Jockeys’ Guild Jockey of the Week award for March 14th – March 20th.
On Saturday at Oaklawn Park, Garcia helped Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert get his sixth victory since 2010 in the Rebel Stakes with Coolmore’s Cupid. Making just his fourth start, Cupid showed a lot of heartand found a late gear as he dueled with Whitmore alongside at the 1/8 pole. Cupid fought off Whitmore to win the 1 1/16 mile Derby prep in 1:43.84. As the second-choice favorite at 5/2, Cupid paid $7.80 to win in the 14-horse field.
“He (Cupid) showed a lot of ability and we know he can run. He really proved today that he is improving. The distance doesn’t matter, he can go as far as he wants.”
Sunland Park was the destination on Sunday where Garcia would once again go wire-to-wire in the $415,000 Sunland Park Festival of Racing Stakes aboard Collected. After breaking on top Collected won by two widening lengths as the even-money favorite and covered 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.90 on a fast track. Collected paid $4.20 to win.
“I used a little bit of horse at the start, but once we got the lead he was cruising,” Garcia said. “When I asked him to go, he responded nicely. I think we even saved something for his next race.”
Trainer Justin Evans and Garcia teamed up to win the $100,000 Bill Thomas Memorial Stakes aboard Redneck Humor earlier on the Sunland Park Card. Redneck Humor went off at 5-1 and paid $11.60 to win.
Winning at the Fair Grounds While Playing the Pace
The 10th race at the Fair Grounds Sunday, March 20 features 11 fillies or mares four years old and up going about 1 mile on the turf. Gusting winds above 20 MPH are in the forecast later in the day, and we’re playing the pace looking at a longshot speed horse with a pure pace play setup.
Pace is the rate at which a horse race is run. ‘Pace makes the Race’ is a common saying and can be separated into two parts: early pace and late pace. In route races of one mile or longer, early pace can be defined as the first three quarters of a mile.
LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN (30-1) has yet to hit the board in three starts this year, but she’s worth a look at longer odds. She’s finished in the money six times in 13 starts with three wins. She closed 2015 with an allowance win at this track, and stretches back out following a six furlong race here February 28 in which she never fired from the outside and was wide throughout. Her form may not look to good to many, but the January 28 race in which she broke from the 11 post and was on the lead through ¾ mile before fading on the dirt suggests she may be fine and likely stronger against similar now on the turf. The race prior on January 18 was against stronger also going a mile on the dirt and she was just one length off the lead at the ¾ pole before also fading.
Twice this year the connections have tried to get her on the turf but the races were washed off. Lookout Mountain showed the strong gate speed from a wide post in her recent turf race before fading in a speed duel. Track speed is king in turf routes favoring early running style. Lookout Mountain is the fastest horse in this field and breaks from the rail with blinkers added. A potential to stay on the lead exists with proper pace, and bettors need to be on the Lookout and at least include her in exotics with a chance to steal this on the front end at long odds.
We’re two weeks away from the $1 million Xpressbet.com Florida Derby (gr. I), and witnessing an epic showdown between Mohaymen and the undefeated Nyquist.
In a training session held earlier today, Mohaymen showed why he’s considered the top East Coast three-year-old Triple Crown prospect. In a five-furlong work at the Palm Meadows’ main track, Mohaymen destroyed the course in a time of 1:01.
His splits were timed at: :13 2/5, :25 1/5, and :36 3/5. He went an extra furlong, going six furlongs deep in a time of 1:15.
“He went great; just what the boss asked for. It was perfect,” said exercise rider Miguel Jaime. “We’re just getting ready. He feels great, like a Ferrari, you know? We’re doing good so far, looking forward to the Florida Derby.”
Jaime has been Mohaymen’s regular exercise rider since the multiple grade II winner out of Shadwell Stable relocated to South Florida in the beginning of last December. It was the second work put in by Mohaymen since winning the Xpressbet.com Fount of Youth (gr. II) last month.
“It’s a pleasure to be on a horse like that,” said Jaime. “He’s getting better every day, every race. He’s getting stronger, bigger. We haven’t seen him really run yet. We expect him to run a big race. He hasn’t shown everything. We’re in a good spot right now. Today, everything went good.”
Mohaymen has one last scheduled work on March 25th prior to the Florida Derby.
The Florida Derby will be headlined by the two favorites to win the Kentucky Derby, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be the only two horses involved. Fellowship will continue to seek his first stakes victory and is going up against the best in the business in an effort to accomplish this feat. He’ll probably have to wait for that first win even longer than April 2nd.
Currently, the Jacks or Better Farms product is a serious longshot to win the first leg of the Triple Crown and does not have futures odds just yet.
Ever since winning his maiden back in May of 2015, Fellowship has been groomed for the derby trail on the east coast. He has raced almost exclusively at Gulfstream Park and Gulfstream Park West. Trained by Stanley Gold, the son of Awesome of Course and Go Girlfriend Go will try for another run on familiar grounds.
At the very least, he’s a strong consideration to at least show for those that like building boxes.
In his career, Fellowship is 1-3-2 in seven races. His 2016 season began with a 5th place finish at the Mucho Macho Man Stakes (won by Awesome Speed), but he rallied to place third at the Holy Bull Stakes and the Fountain of Youth Stakes. Both of those challenges were dominated by Mohaymen.
“He’s going to go in the Florida Derby for sure,” Gold mentioned when inquired about his horse. “He’s training good. We’ve got time for another work or two if we want. I’m looking forward to the race. The extra sixteenth of a mile is going to help him.”
Fellowship is a known closer, who showed some great speed down the stretch at the Holy Bull this year. It wasn’t the elite type that Mohaymen is known for, but he did not shy away from the challenge one bit. He will be contending square on against Zulu for third place at the Florida Derby and is worthy of a look as he gets ignored by the handicappers like he was at the Fountain of Youth Stakes.
The Maryland Jockey Club announced this week that they will offer $3.7 million stakes races at the month-long Pimlico Meet highlighted by the Preakness Stakes. The second leg of the Triple Crown accounts for $1.5 million of the offered purse money. Other big money races include the $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan and the $300,000 Pimlico Special.
“We’re very excited about the Pimlico meet this year,” said Sal Sinatra, the president and general manager of the Maryland Jockey Club. “The racing during Preakness week at Pimlico promises to once again be highlighted by champions and Hall of Fame horsemen, and the energy that comes from the more than 300,000 people who visit our facility that weekend is incredible.
“We’re honored to partner with so many great companies and individuals in Baltimore, the state of Maryland, and surrounding areas to showcase Thoroughbred racing at Pimlico this spring, and we believe fans will be happy with the improvements to the facility we have made.”
The news about the Pimlico Meet is a welcome sight for the MJC, since most of the news surrounding the track itself has been negative. Officials have been attempting to update the facilities to meet modern standards for years. Over the past two runnings of the Preakness Stakes and the Preakness Meet, there have been well substantiated rumblings that the Triple Crown race could move to Laurel Park. It didn’t help that there were facility malfunctions at the Preakness last year, which came in the form of a busted water main.
Fortunately there is little to worry about with the track. A new LED screen measuring 21×32 feet has been erected in the infield and the Maryland Stadium Authority continues to conduct an assessment and investigation on what it will take to improve Pimlico Race Course. The state, horse racing officials in Maryland and the sport itself are adamant about maintaining a healthy tradition at the famed Maryland track. The Pimlico Meet in 2016 will continue just that.
The Sensational Filly Rachel Alexandra Won the 2009 Preakness Stakes
Last week one of the leading ladies of racing Rachel Alexandra was selected as one of the four Thoroughbred finalists for the 2016 Hall of Fame. The fantastic filly was named Horse of the Year and champion 3-year old filly in 2009. After dominating the Kentucky Oaks by 19 lengths, Rachel Alexandra prepared to battle the boys at the Preakness Stakes.
She did more than that going wire-to-wire for a most impressive beating of the boys while holding off Kentucky Derby champion Mine that Bird, who was roaring down the lane late.
Rachel Alexandra had one of the most impressive campaigns in history for a 3-year-old, beating males three times, including an historic victory at the Preakness. She also beat the boys in the Haskell Invitational and Woodward Stakes.
Rachel Alexandra went on to win 13 races in 19 starts with five second place finishes. Her earnings exceeded $3,500,000.
Rachel Alexandra and the other Hall of Fame finalists were selected by the Hall of Fame’s 16-member nominating committee from a total of 82 initial candidates. The results of the voting on contemporary candidates will be announced Monday, Apr. 25 and the induction ceremony will take place at the Fasig-Tipton Sales Pavilion in Saratoga Friday, Aug. 12 at 10:30 a.m.
The Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association announced their Louisiana-bred divisional champions of 2015. They also announced the broodmare of the year, stallion of the year, and breeders of the year.
The awards will be formally announced at their annual meeting to be held on June 11th at the Evangeline Downs Racetrack and Casino.
Below is a full list of the Divisional Louisiana Champions and winners of the other awards:
Two-year-old filly: Jet Black Magic (by Hold Me Back/Owner: Carl Moore Management) Two-year-old male: Sea Vow (by Private Vow/Owner/breeder: Ronald Webb) Three-year-old filly: Pacific Pink (by Private Vow/Owner:Keith Plaisance) Three-year-old male: Mobile Bay (by Lone Star Special/Owner/breeder: Brandon Adcock) Four-year-old and up female: Tensas Harbor (by Private Vow/Owner: Cantrell Family Partnership) Four-year-old and up male: String King (by Crowned King/Owner/breeder: Charles Craig Smith) Broodmare of the year: Truly Romantic Breeders of the year: Irwin Olian (Tigertail Ranch) High percentage breeder: Stacey Moak Stallion of the year: Half Ours
The broodmare and accredited Louisiana-bred champions are determined by a vote that consists of the membership. Leading breeders and leading stallion awards are determined by statistics.