ARCADIA, CA – Bardy Farm homebred Mo Forza continued his torrid end-of-year hot streak with a howling performance that made him victorious in Saturday’s $200,000 Mathis Brothers Mile Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita Park.
Breaking from post 5 under Joel Rosario as the 6/5 favorite, Mo Forza sat well off the pace and raced three-wide in the clear. Never Easy showed the way into the clubhouse turn and down the backstretch, posting fractions of :22.38, :46.39, and 1:10.57.
Still under a tight hold as he raced through the far turn, Mo Forza began passing horses without being asked. By the time he reached the top of the turn, he held a share of the lead with Neptune’s Storm sandwiched between Mo Forza and Never Easy.
Given the green light near the 3/16 pole, Mo Forza drifted in slightly toward Neptune’s Storm before straightening out and blasting off. Under light urging, the Peter Miller trainee crossed 1 1/4 lengths clear in a final time of 1:34.26 for the mile-long event over the good turf course.
“I loved making the move on the turn, the way he did,” Rosario said. “I was just hanging onto the bridle and he just loved that, so we stayed with that. The trip was good. He was happy where he was.”
Originaire, under new-to-the-area jockey Umberto Rispoli, rallied strongly in the stretch to take second by 1 1/2 lengths over Neptune’s Storm, who appeared bothered by Mo Forza’s drifting. Barristan The Bold was a neck behind in fourth, with Kingly another 1/2-length behind him.
Proud Pedro, Ocean Fury, Never Easy, Bob and Jackie, Loafers Boy, and Sash completed the order of finish.
Mo Forza’s win was his fourth straight, having broken his maiden here on September 29 before winning the Qatar Twilight Derby (G2) and the Hollywood Derby (G1). The 3-year-old son of Uncle Mo, co-owned by Bardy Farm and OG Boss, improved his record to 9-4-3-1 with $499,460 earned.
“He’s like a big kid that finally learns to use his feet and hands, and it’s all over,” Miller said. “He always had the talent, but he never really could put it all together. I think we haven’t seen the best of him yet. He is just starting to learn, and once he relaxes a little bit better and doesn’t want to lay in when he passes that last horse, I think the sky is the limit. He’s just a tremendous horse.”
Mo Forza returned $4.40 to win, $3 to place, and $2.20 to show. Originaire brought back $9.60 to place and $5 to show, while Neptune’s Storm paid $2.80 to show.