The pressure is on and the proverbial time is now for Mo Tom, but trainer Tom Amoss is taking it all in stride, if not presenting an air of confidence in his morning-line favorite for Saturday's Grade II $1,000,000 TwinSpires.com Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots. Owned by locals G M B Racing – the Benson Family that also owns the New Orleans Saints of the National Football League and Pelicans of the National Basketball Association – Mo Tom's New Orleans roots run deep, as Amoss himself is a native of the area and has long held court as one of the top trainers at the Fair Grounds.
Confidence is easy to come by for the 11-time leading local conditioner when it comes to Mo Tom. A son of the top young sire in America, Uncle Mo, the dark bay has yet to run a poor race in six career starts, accounting for three wins and three thirds, including a rousing victory two back in the Grade III $200,000 Lecomte Stakes at a mile and 70 yards over the New Orleans oval's main track. In fact, all three of his losses have had plausible excuses, including checking sharply at in mid-stretch last out when making what could have been a winning rally under regular rider Corey Lanerie.
“We're all very keen to find a way to win the Louisiana Derby,” Amoss said of the colt's connections. “It's important to all of us that we win here and we aren't looking beyond it. I think he's doing great and honestly I couldn't be happier with him.
“The pace scenario will be different this time, as I don't think it will be as quick as in the Risen Star,” Amoss continued. “I would like it to be faster, but I know 'Tom is going to be okay. He's a very talented horse, he's fit and is training well.”
Going into the Louisiana Derby, Amoss took a somewhat unconventional route and has only worked the Kentucky-bred twice in the five-week break between races, including two half-miles in 48.60 and 47.0 on Mar. 13 and Mar. 5, respectively. He has galloped the horse steadily, as well, coming out at 7:45 a.m. almost every morning like clockwork.
“It has been by design to just have two works,” Amoss explained. “If for some reason he's aggressive in this race and that takes him out of his game, it'll just prove that we're on a learning curve with our horse. Also, he's the kind of horse who puts a lot into his gallops. Unlike the ordinary horse, I don't see the need for him blitz it out there in works every week.”
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