Mo Town Breezes for Possible Florida Derby Start
Photo: Coglianese Photos/Chelsea Durand
Mo Town wins the 2016 Remsen Stakes

Mo Town,winner of the Remsen Stakes (G2) last November, became acquainted for the first time with Gulfstream Park March 16 by working six furlongs for a possible start in the $1 million Xpressbet.com Florida Derby (G1) April 1.

The Tony Dutrow-trained son of Uncle Mo   shipped from Payson Park for the work, which was timed in 1:13.24. With Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez in the irons, Mo Town, who breezed solo while breaking off from the five-eighths pole, carved out fractions of :36.23 and 1:00.09 with a seven-furlong gallop-out time of 1:27.26.

This was the second work from Mo Town since he finished fifth as the favorite in the Risen Star Stakes (G2) at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots Feb. 25 in his 3-year-old debut.  Dutrow, who trains the colt for his Team D and partners Susan Magnier, Derrick Smith, and Michael Tabor, said Velazquez told him Mo Town didn't handle the surface at Fair Grounds.

"I wanted to see how he got along with Gulfstream Park because .... after having the bad experience at the Fair Grounds, we do not believe he cared for the racetrack there," Dutrow said. "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. He went very evenly the whole way, and seemed to gallop out excellent."

Also under consideration for Mo Town is a start in the Wood Memorial Stakes (G2), one week later at Aqueduct Racetrack.

"He also has to draw somewhat well in the Florida Derby," Dutrow said. "If he didn't draw well, we wouldn't run here."

Where ever he runs, it's possible Mo Town will a need rider. Velazquez, who has been aboard for his two career victories, is also the rider of the Todd Pletcher-trained Battalion Runner and Always Dreaming, horses who have been mentioned as under consideration to run in either the Florida Derby or Wood Memorial.

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