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OZONE PARK, NY – With 4-time defending race winner Joel Rosario out of town for the weekend, Junior Alvarado earned his first title aboard strong winner Forza Di Oro in Saturday’s $100,000 Discovery Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct.
Forza Di Oro tracked the early pace in the field of five 3-year-olds before making his move near the 3/16 pole and drawing off in the stretch to win by 3 3/4 lengths.
The Don Alberto Stable homebred completed the 1 1/8-mile fast dirt route in 1:50.03, giving Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott his first victory in the race as well.
“I was pretty happy the whole way around,” Alvarado said. “I knew what I had underneath and whatever position I was in, he’d be there for me. He makes my job easier. He broke nicely today, and after that, he put me in the spot where we wanted to be. I was a passenger the whole way around. He was just waiting for me to give him the green light when we turned for home. It was the first time for him being on the inside like that, and when we started moving forward, he hesitated a little bit, but after a few jumps, he knew what to do and went by the other horse.”
The 9/5 favorite Monday Morning Qb was unable to hold off the winner after setting the pace and settled for second, 1 1/2 lengths ahead of Shared Sense.
Attachment Rate and Ralston completed the order of finish.
Forza Di Oro’s win was his first at the stakes level and improved his overall record to 5-3-1-0 with $148,875 earned. The Speightstown colt finished eighth in last December’s Remsen Stakes (G2), then missed 8 months before returning last month to win an allowance at Belmont Park.
“He’s a very talented horse,” Alvarado said. “He’s a horse that works very nice in the morning and we’ve been high on him since the beginning. He had to stop with some issues he had, but he came back very strong this year. Mentally, he still hasn’t caught up with his body. He’s a big guy with a nice, long stride, but I think mentally, he still has to put it together.”
Forza Di Oro returned $8.30 to win and $4.10 to place, while Monday Morning Qb paid $3.20 to place. There was no show betting.
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