The most accomplished horse in the Grade II $400,000 Risen Star Stakes field next Saturday is the highest-profile ship-in, Tony Dutrow-trained Mo Town. Owned by Team D in partnership with the principals of the powerful Coolmore conglomerate – Mrs. Tom Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith – the son of Uncle Mo completed his final preparations for his sophomore bow with a five-furlong move on Friday morning in 1:01.40 at Payson Park in South Florida.
“He worked today and he's happy and ready to run,” Dutrow said. “He's done well since his last race and all winter. He leaves on a Tex Sutton flight Tuesday morning from South Florida and should arrive later that day at the Fair Grounds. He might be going into Steve Asmussen's barn.”
Mo Town has only started three times, but has impressed in each. On debut, Aug. 27 at Saratoga, he was bumped when beaking from post nine of 10 going six furlongs before running a valiant second to highly regarded Asmussen trainee Reckling. He returned four weeks later to romp in the mud by seven lengths in a one-turn mile maiden at Belmont Park.
Two months later, in his first two-turn attempt, he was impressive when taking the nine-furlong Grade II $300,000 Remsen Stakes on Nov. 26 in just his third start. The lone winner at such a level coming into the Risen Star, he has worked well in recent weeks at Payson Park, including three consecutive five-furlong bullets.
Out of the Bernardini mare Grazie Mille, Mo Town will be reunited with Johnny Velazquez, who also flies in from Florida for the race. Velazquez and the bay colt break from post 9-of-14.
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