Mo Strike (Uncle Mo) was the second 8-1 shot to win a graded event at Saratoga Saturday, taking his record to two-for-two with a victory in the GII Sanford S.
Away in good order from the six-hole, the bay rushed up to contest the pace alongside Curly Jack (Good Magic) with 'TDN Rising Star' Andiamo A Firenze (Speightstown) to his outside through a :22.59 opening quarter. They ran three abreast on the backstretch run, registering a :45.94 half-mile. Great Navigator (Sea Wizard) tried to break through that trio in early stretch, but was forced to swing out for the overland route just as Curly Jack threw in the towel at the fence. Andiamo A Firenze, the half-brother to the speedy GISW Firenze Fire (Poseidon's Warrior), continued to battle Mo Strike in the lane, but that foe found another gear at the eighth-pole, pulling away for a 3 1/2-length decision. Great Navigator made a bold late run for second at 18-1. Favored 'TDN Rising Star' Forte (Violence) ran in seventh most of the way, made a three-wide bid in the turn, but never got into gear, finishing fourth.
“I mean, I didn't really know how the pace would set up,” winning trainer Brad Cox said. “He broke and put himself right there, I saw the :22 1/5, or whatever it was, and I thought if he was there and he was doing it, he would have something to finish up with. He galloped out really well in his first run and he's a pretty intelligent horse. I think he can stretch a bit–I'm not going to say he's going to go a mile and a quarter just yet, but he's a nice horse that I think his biggest asset is his mind. He definitely showed some ability and fought off a very good horse [Andiamo a Firenze]. That horse ran a big figure in his race at Belmont, I believe, and when Florent [Geroux] really asked [Mo Strike] at the eighth-pole, he was able to get away.”
On a potential next start in the GII Saratoga Special Aug. 13 and the GI Hopeful S. Sept. 5, Cox said, ” It would probably be a lot to ask him [to race] in the Special and the Hopeful, but we'll let him determine our plans, and once again how he comes out of it, and go from there. I think the Hopeful is more likely being he's an Uncle Mo, it's a Grade I, and it would take a lot of pressure off. He's a nice colt.”
“He broke super sharp,” Geroux said. “From there, I was in the clear right from the beginning. I let the inside horse [Curly Jack] go. I kept an eye on [Andiamo a Firenze]. We were able to slow it down a little bit the second quarter and when the horse came to me down the lane, my horse was able to give me another gear and fight all the way to the wire. I was very pleased with his effort. The last eighth of a mile, I felt the race was pretty much over and he was just keeping along nicely. If someone else was going to attack me, I felt I had another gear to fight them down.”
A $90,000 FTKOCT yearling buy, Mo Strike summoned $325,000 at OBS April after breezing in :10 flat for Gene Recio. He beat nine rivals when taking his debut at Churchill Downs June 19 as the lukewarm favorite, earning a 70 Beyer Speed Figure.
Mo Strike is the 45th graded winner and 83rd black-type winner for top sire Uncle Mo, whose son Sea Wizard sired runner-up Great Navigator. He is also the 60th graded winner and 148th black-type scorer out of a daughter of Smart Strike. Stakes winner and GISP Featherbed is also the dam of GIII Illinois Derby winner Dynamic Impact (Tiznow). Her recent produce includes a yearling colt by Vino Rosso and a 2022 filly by McKinzie.
SANFORD S.-GIII, $175,000, Saratoga, 7-16, 2yo, 6f, 1:11.35, ft.
1–MO STRIKE, 120, c, 2, by Uncle Mo
1st Dam: Featherbed (SW & GISP, $227,904), by Smart Strike
2nd Dam: Favorite Feather, by Capote
3rd Dam: In My Cap, by Vice Regent
1ST BLACK TYPE WIN, 1ST GRADED STAKES WIN. ($90,000 Ylg
'21 FTKOCT; $325,000 2yo '22 OBSAPR). O-Nasser Bin
Omairah; B-Blue Heaven Farm & Ashford Stud (KY); T-Brad H.
Cox; J-Florent Geroux. $96,250. Lifetime Record: 2-2-0-0,
$165,710. *1/2 to Dynamic Impact (Tiznow), GSW, $421,006.
Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree. Werk Nick
2–Great Navigator, 120, c, 2, Sea Wizard–All Even, by Stephen
Got Even. 1ST BLACK TYPE, 1ST GRADED BLACK TYPE.
O/B-Holly Crest Farm (NJ); T-Eddie Owens, Jr. $35,000.
3–Andiamo a Firenze, 120, c, 2, Speightstown–My Every Wish,
by Langfuhr. 'TDN Rising Star'. 1ST BLACK TYPE, 1ST GRADED
BLACK TYPE. O/B-Mr Amore Stables (NY); T-Kelly J. Breen.
Margins: 3HF, NK, 2. Odds: 8.20, 18.50, 4.20.
Also Ran: Forte, Curly Jack, Major Dude, Roman Giant, Prove Right, Valenzan Day, Boppy O, I'm Wide Awake, Puttheblameonme.
Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by TVG.