However, on this occasion, no chances were taken. Mo Tom was kept wide at the back of the field and made a wide move coming in to the stretch. Nothing got in his way and he was pushed out to win by three lengths. Mo Tom has plenty of talent and these race tactics will win him plenty of races against the type of opposition he faced in the Ohio Derby. However, against the top-graders, it will be much more difficult to emerge victorious while giving all that ground away.
Over at beautiful Santa Anita, the first of the two Grade 1 races, The Triple Bend, was won by Lord Nelson who just shaded the game, front-running Subtle Indian in the shadow of the post.
As expected Kobe’s Back, making his seventh attempt at getting grade 1 glory, broke badly and was back in last place until the stretch when jockey Gary Stevens made his move and though he managed to take the show, he was never going to catch the front two. Maybe one day will achieve a Grade 1 win but the pace is going to have to be a lot faster than that of this race if that is going to happen.
Finally we come to the Gold Cup at Santa Anita, the second grade 1 race on the night and worth a tasty $500,000. There was a lot of interest in Hoppertunity, who had finished third in the Dubai World Cup but had not raced since. The vibes about the horse’s chances could not have been good as his price drifted to 3/1 at the off and, despite making some late gains, he was never in the hunt for a gold medal finish. Expect him to come on a fair bit for this run.
The race was won by 9/5 favorite Melatonin, who has developed into a top quality horse at the age of five and proving his win in the Big Cap was no fluke. He travelled very comfortably behind Lieutenant Colonel before being given the office entering the straight. He was quickly taken on by the smooth running Win the Space but Melatonin outbattled him to win going away by 1 ½ lengths.
This win earns Melatonin an expenses paid entry into the Breeders’ Cup Classic. If he keeps improving like this, then he should be a live contender.