Mo Forza Flies Late For Second Consecutive City Of Hope Mile Score

Unhurried early under Flavien Prat, Mo Forza closed with a furious rush to nail front-running Smooth Like Strait in the final strides of Saturday’s Grade 2, $200,000 City of Hope Mile Stakes at Santa Anita in Arcadia, Calif. The 5-year-old horse by Uncle Mo out of Inflamed, by Unusual Heat, was winning his fourth consecutive graded stakes – including last year’s City of Hope Mile –  and eighth race overall from 14 starts. The winning margin was a half-length.

Smooth Like Strait, who went to the lead under Umberto Rispoli, then allowed Red Storm Risen to head him in the run down the backstretch, edged a fast-closing Hit the Road for second as the 9-5 second choice. Hit the Road, off at 5-1, was well clear of Red Storm Risen in fourth and Order and Law completed the order of finish.

Mo Forza covered the mile on firm turf in 1:32.45 after fractions of :22.61, :46.66, 1:08.98 and 1:20.57. He paid $3.20 to win.

“It was a bit of an awkward race,” said Prat. “First quarter was pretty fast, I felt like it was pretty fast. Then we hit the first turn and slowed down a lot, then we got to the backside and took off again, so it was a bit of an awkward race.  After that they all came up to me around the far turn, I was trying to get him together, to regroup and get a good run down the lane and that’s what he did. He showed a lot of class today.

“He’s definitely one who always gives you everything. He has a great turn of foot and it’s always a pleasure riding him. Peter (Miller) did a great job of bringing him back off a long layoff last time and again today, it was a real pleasure.”

Trained by Peter Miller and owned by Bardy Farm and OG Boss, Mo Forza was bred in Kentucky by the late trainer Barry Abrams in the name of his Bardy Farm.

“This horse is continuing Barry’s legacy,” said David Abrams, Barry’s brother, “He means the world to us. He runs with an angel on his shoulder, I truly believe that. Look at his last two races, that’s Barry bringing him home.”

Mo Forza was coming off a hard-fought head victory over Smooth Like Strait in the G2 Del Mar Mile on Aug. 21, his first start since last year’s City of Hope Mile. In this year’s edition of the City of Hope, Prat settled Mo Forza at the back of the pack as Smooth Like Strait rushed up to take command early from the five post, holding a clear advantage while rounding the first turn.

In the run down the backstretch, Joe Bravo swung Red Storm Risen – who had broken from the rail post – to the outside and ranged up alongside Smooth Like Strait, taking a short lead into the far turn.

Prat, meanwhile, kept Mo Forza to the outside of Hit the Rail and Florent Geroux, and commenced a rally rounding the final turn. At midstretch, Smooth Like Strait looked home free, but in the blink of an eye Mo Forza pounced on the front-runner with Hit the Road racing to his outside and closing on the frontrunner as well.

Mo Forza finished with a rush, hitting the front in the final strides and looking like a serious contender for the G1 Breeders’ Cup Mile to be held at Del Mar on Nov. 6.

I was very worried the first minute and 30 seconds,” said Miller. “I felt a lot better the last two and a half seconds. The pace was quick in the early going, then it slowed down and then they picked it up again. I didn’t have any pre-race instructions for Flavien. I left the plans in Flavien’s hands. It is up to him. He knows the horse. If the pace is fast, he’ll lay back. If it’s a moderate pace, we’ll be up close. Our next stop is the Breeders’ Cup.”

 

The post Mo Forza Flies Late For Second Consecutive City Of Hope Mile Score appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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