Mo Tom experienced his second consecutive bad trip in a big race, but trainer Tom Amoss said he came out of Saturday’s Louisiana Derby healthy.
And the next stop is the Kentucky Derby.
Mo Tom came out of the Feb. 20 Risen Star Stakes with a laceration on his left front leg after another horse drifted in front of him. Amoss said that was never an issue.
However, after Mo Tom experienced similar traffic issues Saturday, Amoss said he’d check him out Sunday before there would be any thoughts concerning the Kentucky Derby, which is May 7. Mo Tom is owned by Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson and his wife, Gayle.
“I wasn’t looking for an injury in a certain area,” Amoss said. “It’s like a football player who played in a game. We just want to make sure he’s healthy the next day.
“Tom is fine. So, the next thing will be to head to Kentucky. … We’re going to run in the Kentucky Derby.”
Asked about the future of jockey Corey Lanerie, who was aboard for the second consecutive race in which Mo Tom had traffic issues, Amoss said there are no plans for a jockey change, at least not right now.
After Saturday’s race, Amoss expressed great disastisfaction with Lanerie’s performance, saying he didn’t understand his decision to go to the rail after the horse broke from the enviable sixth position in the middle of the course. Lanerie took the blame, saying that for a moment, he “had more horse than he knew what to do with,” and the bad decision got Mo Tom beat.
Two races later, in No. 12, Lanerie was replaced by James Graham aboard Our Lady Allie, who won.
“We’ve had a day to think about it,” Amoss said. “Corey’s a very good rider. So, the idea that we’re definitely firing Corey is not true. Was I mad at him yesterday? Most definitely. I never said he’s not riding this horse again.
“We all like Corey. He’s been the leading rider at Churchill Downs for about six years running. We’re not making any rider decisions right now.”
The Kentucky Derby field is decided by the top 20 3-year-old horses as determined through a point system involving 35 designated races, such as the Fair Grounds’ Lecomte Stakes, the Risen Star and the Louisiana Derby.
Gun Runner, who won the Louisiana Derby after taking the Risen Star, leads the points list with 151. Tom’s Ready, another Benson horse, is ninth with 44 points after Saturday finishing second, which was worth 40.
Mo Tom, who won the Lecomte, was third in the Risen Star and fourth Saturday, is 11th with 32 points. Forevamo, like Mo Tom a son of Uncle Mo, is 17th, with 20. He was second in the Risen Star and fifth in the Louisiana Derby.
The Kentucky Derby post positions and morning-line odds will be released May 4 at 5:25 p.m.
NOTES: Florent Geroux, who was aboard Gun Runner in both of his big wins as well as on Chocolate Ride for Fair Grounds Handicap and Colonel E. R. Bradley Stakes victories, won the Fair Grounds’ leading jockey title, with 87 wins. ... Mike Stidham won his first trainer’s title at the track, with 38 wins, and Richard and Karen Papiese were the leading owners with 16. ... Steve Asmussen-trained Gun Runner was chosen horse of the meet.