Ohio Derby Preview: Mo Tom Looking for a Clean Trip

Gun Runner, No 6, with jockey Shaun Bridgmohan aboard, drives to the wire to win the Risen Star Stakes (GrII) at the Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans, LA Saturday, February 20, 2016.
Photo By Amanda Hodges Weir / Hodges Photography
Hodges Photography

Likely Winners

#8 Mo Tom – A lot of people are going to be terrified to take this horse at a short price.  I don’t blame those people for not wanting to do so, however here is the good news for those of us who are going to bet him at that short price: JAVIER CASTELLANO.  This is an excellent rider switch as Corey Lanerie has had enough chances to right the ship with him and he’s done nothing but cause trouble for this horse.  Can Mo Tom finally get a clean trip today?  Yes…I believe he will, and I believe that will be enough to get him into the winners circle.  If he finds trouble again in this race then he’s either a cursed horse or is just a horse that likes to clip heels with other horses.  Much like the troubled Mr. Z who won here last year, this is the day Mo Tom tosses his demons aside.

#6 Wild About Deb – For running only three races so far in his career he’s been fairly impressive.  Last time out he tried stakes company for the first time in the Peter Pan Stakes, and ran just a couple of lengths behind second place finisher Governor Malibu who came back to run very well in the Belmont Stakes.  I thought for flying all the way across the country and running at a new track that his third place finish in the race was very admirable.  He has a right to improve off of that effort today as the travel is much less, and the depth of the field seems to be similar if not a bit lesser than last time out.  As long as he can get some pace up front I believe he will come running just like Mo Tom, and it could turn into quite a duel between the two of them.

Exotic Plays

#3 Adventist – If you’ve followed my thoughts through the Triple Crown trail you know I’ve never cared for him, and I still don’t care for him in this race. During the Triple Crown trail he finished third three straight times in prep races in New York which doesn’t sound all that bad, but the horses that beat him in those races were…well lets just put it nicely and say not that good.  If Adventist was any good he should have at least won once out of those three races.  His latest effort in the Peter Pan was typical of him as he just sort of grinds it out and stays within a few lengths of the winner.  He’ll do the same again today.

#7 Discreet Lover – Even though this horse is only one for twelve in his career he still seems like a horse that could hit the board at a price and make your trifecta’s pay very well.  There is no away I’d waste money putting him in the top spot, but underneath he does make a lot of sense to me.  He’s ran behind a few decent horses lately, and since he’s stretched out he’s finished second three out of four races.  Maybe I’m crazy…but he’s my underneath price play as a I do think he’ll sit a nice trip in here.

Party Crashers

#10 Decorated Solider – Last time out in the Peter Pan I expected a little bit better of an effort however his wide trip may have compromised him a little bit in that race.  His effort in the race leading up to the Peter Pan was pretty solid at Oaklawn Park when he won the Northern Spur which makes me think he could be competitive today.  Also the second place finisher in the Peter Pan did come back to run very well in the Belmont Stakes.  It’s always hard for me to completely throw out a Pletcher runner,  and the price is right on him to take a small shot with this one.

Throw Outs

#5 Cocked and Loaded – You’ll notice with most of these throw outs that I still somewhat like them as horses, but just not necessarily in this race.  As a two year old I had some high hopes for this one, but his three year old season has been really bad.  I still think he coud turn it around, but he’ll have to prove it to me first.

#1 Thatlookonyerface – The good news is this horse was a Grade 3 winner last time out at Woodbine.  The bad news…he’s never ran at any other track other than Woodbine.  It’s been my experience that horses coming from Woodbine don’t run well on conventional dirt when trying it for the first time, which is the case with him in this spot.

#2 Mo Don’t No – Really hated putting him in this spot, but there were just too many things that make me leery that he’ll run well.  I think he’s definitely talented, and I love the story of a “hometown favorite.”  However, this will be his first start against open company and his first around two turns…in fact he’s never been longer than 6 furlongs.  Will be rooting for him, but not likely he wins.

#4 Van Damme – Ran a bang up race last time out at Thistledown to win by over four lengths against an allowance field, but this is not the spot he needs to be in next.  They finally spotted him correctly last time out…but not this time.

#9 Riding the Wind – This one looks highly improbable for a number or reasons with the main one being he’s just not that fast.  Looks to be more a sprinter that enjoys state bred company to me.  Awfully tall order in this spot.

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