Saturday, November 25th, 2017   ( 1 year ago )

Mo Town Rallies to Win Hollywood Derby

Mo Town © Benoit Photo

Magnier, Tabor and Smith’s Mo Town, making his West Coast debut, rallied from next-to-last under jockey John Velazquez to win the Grade I $300,000 Hollywood Derby Saturday.

Patiently handled by Velazquez after a slightly slow beginning, Mo Town swept by his embattled rivals in the final sixteenth to win by a length in the fast time of 1:46.36 for the nine furlongs on the infield Jimmy Durante Turf Course. The previous mark was 1:47.73 set a year ago by Annals of Time.

Mo Town, a son of Uncle Mo trained by Anthony Dutrow, was considered a prime prospect for the Kentucky Derby early this year after winning the Remsen Stakes as a two-year-old at Aqueduct. However, he was winless in four starts in 2017 until transferred to the grass at Belmont Park where he defeated older horses handily, by six and one-half lengths, October 12.

On the basis of that performance, Mo Town was a solid 2-1 second choice in the Hollywood Derby and returned $6.20, $4.60 and $3.60. Channel Maker nosed out Big Score for second, with the latter another nose ahead of the 7-5 favored Sharp Samurai, whose four-race victory streak came to an end. Channel Maker paid $7.80 and $4.60, while Big Score returned $3.60 to show.

Mo Town was recording his fourth triumph in nine starts and first money of $180,000 increased the colt’s earnings to $509,600.

JOHN VELAZQUEZ (Mo Town, winner) – “So I got to try something different with this horse today. I’ve been trying to get him to settle. He broke slow, so I didn’t panic with him. I let him settle and run right along. Then when I asked him he responded. He responded very well.”

JAVIER CASTELLANO (Channel Maker, second) – “I saved all the ground. Then I cut the corner and there was some room on the rail. He ran huge. The winner got the jump on me.”

FLAVIEN PRAT (Big Score, third) – “A good trip and a good try by this horse. He tries hard every time. You can’t want more than that from him.”

GARY STEVENS (Sharp Samurai, fourth) – “He’s had a great year. He ran another good one. No excuses or complaints from me.”

ANTHONY DUTROW (Mo Town, winner) – “My first trip to Del Mar and the people out here are so nice I can’t wait to get back some day. It was a Grade I race and our horse had a chance and I just felt like we had to be here. The race itself? I don’t know how this turf course plays, but I knew at the top of the stretch Mo Town had a lot of work to do and I’m glad he was up to it.” 

FRACTIONS: :23.34 :47.67 1:11.19 1:34.57 1:46.36

(The final time is a stakes record for the four runnings of the race at Del Mar.)

The stakes win was the sixth of the meet for rider Velazquez, but his first in the Hollywood Derby. All six of his total stakes wins at Del Mar were during this meet, two of them in Breeders’ Cup races.

The stakes win was the first for trainer Dutrow with the first horse he ran at Del Mar.

The owners are Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith and Team D.