Mo Tom ships and gets the trip to win Ohio Derby

Profile Picture: Ed DeRosa

Ed DeRosa

June 25th, 2016

Team Mo Tom made the trip to the Ohio Derby, and their Uncle Mo colt finally got the perfect trip to win the $500,000 race for three-year-olds on Saturday, June 25, at Jack Thistledown near Cleveland.

After finishing 8th in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands, trainer Tom Amoss made a jockey change to Eclipse Award winner Javier Castellano, and Mo Tom responded underneath his new pilot winning the Ohio Derby going away by three lengths in 1:51.82 for 1 1/8 miles on a track rated as fast.

“We know he’s had some trouble in his races, and that’s just unfortunate luck,” Castellano said. “It has nothing to do with the jock, but sometimes a change can help. It can be hard to ride a closer—they need a clean trip.”

Corey Lanerie had ridden Mo Tom in his previous seven starts, including a win in the Lecomte Stakes to start his three-year-old year, but the colt lost the Risen Star, Louisiana Derby, and the Kentucky Derby with trouble in each race.

“He was the only horse way behind who was really running at the end, so I knew he had nice acceleration,” Castellano said of Mo Tom’s Kentucky Derby. “He has a real good rhythm, and his long stride is a thing of beauty. He’s right there with this best of this group.”

And what a group it’s turning out to be, as Mo Tom is the fifth Kentucky Derby starter to win his next start—joining Preakness winner Exaggerator, Belmont scorer Creator, Woody Stephens victor Tom’s Ready and Matt Winn hero Gun Runner not to mention Kentucky Derby conqueror Nyquist finished third in the Preakness and Derby sixth-place finisher Destin was Belmont runner-up. Gun Runner and Tom’s Ready, incidentally, finished one-two in the Louisiana Derby.

“Not only the Kentucky Derby but also the Louisiana Derby was a key race,” Amoss said. “These are good horses at the top of their class. Often Kentucky Derby horses fall by the wayside, but this year it looks like they’re moving forward.”

Amoss trains Mo Tom for GMB Racing, which is Gayle Benson and her husband Tom of New Orleans Saints and Pelicans fame. Amoss said he gave the Bensons no encouragement to attend the Ohio Derby.

“They just love to see their horses run, Amoss said. “They were bummed they missed Tom’s Ready on Belmont Stakes day.”

With three different winners of Triple Crown races this year, the three-year-old male division is somewhat open if the right horse can run the table in the second half of the year, and while Mo Tom’s Ohio Derby performance has Amoss thinking of bigger prizes like the Travers Stakes, talk of dethroning Nyquist is “premature” he said.

“It’s racing so you’re always dreaming, but we’re taking things one race at a time right now,” said Amoss who did not know what would be next for Mo Tom other than “a trip East” possibly in reference to races like the Haskell at Monmouth Park.

“I was starting to get egg on my face because I’ve been waiting for this kind of powerful performance from him,” Amoss said about his expectations for Mo Tom. “I thought that Ohio Derby was a powerful performance.”

Adventist finished second with longshot Discreet Lover third.

Mo Tom photo courtesy of TwinSpires Twitter