MO TOM A LIVE DERBY DOG
When we start speculating about the first Saturday in May, the one thing everybody wants is a Derby dog. Now, we are not talking about that delectable treat sold at the concession stand with mustard and relish. We want that four-legged kind that will send us joyfully back to the window. When the starting gates open on May 7, many fans may be wanting some Mo.
Mo Tom is a rapidly maturing colt that has the closing kick to get it done in the mile and a quarter that is the Kentucky Derby. He is likely to get little respect due to a pair of troubled runs in the Risen Star and Louisiana Derby in his final two preps. The Tom Amoss trained runner was able to finish 3rd and 4th in those two races despite finding misfortune on both occasions. Good news is the points earned in those two races combined with a win in the LeComte provided Tom with enough to make the field for Kentucky Derby 142. Nestled in the final spot in the Derby draw, his team is anxious for the opportunity.
“We wanted to get in but never wanted to be here because of someone else’s misfortune,” says Tom Amoss. “We have been training to run in the Kentucky Derby for quite some time now and are happy to have a chance to compete.”
Mo Tom’s running style could be both good news and bad news in what should be a 20-horse field in the Derby. A monstrous closer, Tom often rolls near the back of the pack until the field turns for home. That means he must successfully navigate a way through the large field. That was bad news in the March 26 Louisiana Derby. Making a furious run up the rail under jockey Corey Lanerie, Tom had to check up twice as horses in front of him slowed and impeded his path.
Since that unfortunate run at the Fair Grounds, Mo Tom has made some great strides physically. A “youngster”, this son of Uncle Mo will have his three-year old birthday the week of the Kentucky Derby. Like any young athlete, things can change a lot in a short period of time and when talking horse time, things can change dramatically in a 30 day period.
“There has been a lot of physical maturity for Tom in the last 30 days,” says Amoss. “He has always been a tall horse, but now he is really starting to fill out. It has been happening right before our eyes and it really is neat to watch him develop.”
Mo Tom put his newly found physicality on display recently at Churchill with a speedy half-mile workout. Covering the distance in 47 seconds flat, the work was the second fastest at that distance on the day. Of even more encouragement was a strong gallop out that saw him cover a mile in 1:42.
“The work went well,” observes Amoss. “It was a little quick early but he came back to the rider and the gallop out was strong. That is his ammo, a strong finish.”
Amoss is very high on his colt and with good reason. Having won previously at Churchill Downs in the Street Sense Stakes on November 1, 2015 and his recent works means he likes the track. Also, Amoss has brought four other runners to the Derby so it is not just a case of happy to be here for the Louisiana native. Ask him and he will tell you he has a great opportunity to eclipse his previous best finish (fifth with Mylute 2013).
“I am not one to talk a whole lot about my horses,” says Amoss. “But I think without question this is our best chance we have had to date. Tom is different from the rest because he is ideally suited for a race like the Kentucky Derby. I think we have got a real chance here.”