Works at Gulfstream Park for First Time
By Dick Downey
Today Mo Town breezed at Gulfstream Park for the first time with trainer Tony Dutrow testing the waters for a possible start in the Florida Derby. The Wood Memorial is also being considered for Mo Town.
With John Velazquez on board, Mo Town breezed solo going six furlongs in 1:13.24. After breaking off from the five-eighths pole, he ran splits of 36.23 and 1:00.09. Under urging from Velazquez, he went a furlong beyond the wire to complete the work and galloped out seven furlongs in 1:27.26.
This was Mo Town's second breeze since he finished fifth as the favorite in the Risen Star Stakes on Feb. 25. That was his first start since winning the Remsen Stakes last November. Mo Town is stabled at Payson Park, about 90 miles north of Gulfstream.
“I had a lot of reasons for coming here today from Payson Park,” Dutrow said. “Number one was to get a very good workout in the horse other than at Payson Park. He’s been breezing all winter long at Payson Park, so I wanted to get him down here at a racetrack for a very good workout. Number two was that I wanted to see how he got along with Gulfstream Park because of the Florida Derby, after having the bad experience at the Fair Grounds. We do not believe he cared for the racetrack there. Those would be the two main reasons for the workout.
"But also I wanted to get him in the excitement-type atmosphere of a racetrack, other than the farm-type of atmosphere at Payson Park," Dutrow continued. "I wanted to get him down here, put him on the van, ship him down here. I just wanted to get all the race-day type of situations as we could create in the morning. Big picture is that I’m hopeful that Johnny liked the horse on the racetrack here because for so many reasons the Florida Derby makes sense.
“I liked what I saw, I thought the horse was very smooth over the racetrack,” Dutrow added. “He went very evenly the whole way, and seemed to gallop out excellent. I’m happy with today’s workout.”
Dutrow said he hasn't decided what to do yet but has narrowed the choices down to the Florida Derby on April 1 or the Wood Memorial on April 8.
“I will talk to Johnny and then I will talk to Coolmore and then a decision will be made,” Dutrow said. “He also has to draw somewhat well in the Florida Derby. If he didn’t draw well, we wouldn’t run here.”
Mo Town might need a new rider. Velazquez is also the rider of Battalion Runner and Always Dreaming, Todd Pletcher trainees that could run in the Florida Derby or Wood Memorial.