With four weeks to the Kentucky Derby, this past weekend’s races were supposed to sharpen the focus of the derby field. However recent injuries and upset wins have blurred the derby picture to an unbelievable degree and created a handicapper’s nightmare headed into the first Saturday in May. It looks to be anyone’s race.
On the East Coast, the $1 Million Wood Memorial (Replay) was supposed to be a final workout and walk in the park for prohibitive derby favorite Uncle Mo. Instead it turned out to be a losing effort, his first in 5 races and it placed his loss along side Secretariat’s loss in the Wood in 1973. Both are considered to be shocking losses, but Secretariat bounced back in dramatic fashion, winning the 1973 Triple Crown. His loss in the Wood may be one of the more memorable losses in the history of the prestigious race and racing in general. So, with that said, what does the future hold for Uncle Mo?
Unbeaten in his first four starts, the 2 yr. old champion broke from the gate well and set the pace for the 1 1/8 contest. As they turned for home, a wall of horses loomed large, but Uncle Mo looked as professional as ever and appeared to be waiting for the right moment to leave them all behind. However, in the final stretch Arthur’s Tale passed Uncle Mo and a moment later Toby’s Corner pushed through to win by a neck.
- Toby’s Corner $19.40 $7.00 $2.50
- Arthur’s Tale $11.00 $3.30
- Uncle Mo $2.10
Obviously the race can be deemed an upset because of who Toby’s Corner beat. But in a sense, this win restored Toby’s Corner as a serious contender for the derby crown. He won the Whirlaway, finished 3rd in a slow Gotham, and bounced back to win the Wood. He hit the board in all three of the top New York races and is now headed to Kentucky with a fighting chance for owner Dianne Cotter and trainer Graham Motion. With owners and trainers traveling all over the country looking for stakes money and possibly lighter competition this season, Toby’s Corner stood his ground in New York and his connections deserve to be commended for their efforts.
It is definitely an exciting time for racing and the anticipation is rapidly mounting. Congratulations to the winning connections of Toby’s Corner. We look forward to his next start in the Kentucky Derby.
On a sidenote, JJ’s Lucky Train won the Bay Shore Stakes over 2nd place finisher Vengeful Wildcat and 3rd place finisher Justin Phillip. This was JJ’s Lucky Train’s second consecutive stakes win.
- JJ’s Lucky Train $6.00 $3.20 $2.30
- Vengeful Wildcat $3.20 $2.70
- Justin Phillip $3.20
Written by Big Brink