Mott Trio In Good Order After Stakes Efforts At Belmont

Bruce Lunsford homebred Art Collector notched his third consecutive win for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott with a powerful front-running performance in Saturday’s Grade 1, $500,000 Woodward, at Belmont Park.

The 4-year-old Bernardini colt, with Luis Saez up, posted splits of 24.02 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 47.78 for the half-mile with Mo Gotcha tracking from second and mutuel favorite Maxfield saving ground along the rail.

Maxfield and a wide-rallying Dr Post were in position to challenge through the stretch run, but Art Collector would not relinquish securing a 1 1/2-length victory. Art Collector covered the nine-furlongs in 1:49.22, garnering a career-best 107 Beyer Speed Figure.

Maxfield bested Dr Post by a length to complete the exacta with Code of Honor, the 2019 Grade 1 Runhappy Travers winner for Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey, settling for fourth.

Mott praised the improving Art Collector, who has now won a trio of nine-furlong events under his care, including the Alydar on August 6 at Saratoga Race Course and the Grade 2 Charles Town Classic on Aug. 27.

“I would say he beat the best group of horses that he’s beaten so far,” Mott said following Saturday’s win. “They were the most established group. You knew it was a solid bunch. Shug’s horse and Maxfield were good, solid individuals.”

Art Collector launched his career with trainer Tom Drury, posting wins last year in the Grade 2 Blue Grass at Keeneland and the Ellis Park Derby. The talented bay missed the Kentucky Derby due to injury and finished off-the-board in the Grade 1 Preakness and Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.

Art Collector was transferred to Mott following a sixth-place finish in his seasonal debut in the Kelly’s Landing on June 25 at Churchill Downs

“He had done very well before. He was in good hands. The trainer did very well with him previously,” Mott said. “The fact that I was in New York and he was in Kentucky, I think that’s why they wanted him here. Tommy Drury did a great job with this horse and we’re reaping some of the benefits.”

Mott was also represented in Saturday’s stakes action by Forza Di Oro, who finished fifth in the Woodward; and Chewing Gum, who closed to finish third in the Grade 3 Belmont Turf Sprint Invitational.

Leanna Willaford, Mott’s Belmont-based assistant, said all three exited their efforts in good order.

“Art Collector ran great. It was a very gutty effort and he did everything right,” Willaford said. “He looked great this morning and is already on his way back up to Saratoga.”

Don Alberto Stable homebred Forza Di Oro, enjoyed a productive summer at Saratoga, registering a 101 Beyer in an optional-claiming win traveling nine-furlongs off a long layoff on July 21. The Speightstown chestnut followed with a pacesetting third in the 10-furlong G1 Jockey Club Gold Cup on Sept. 4.

Willaford said the 4-year-old might appreciate a turn back in distance.

“That’s a thought. We might have to regroup with him,” Willaford said. “It looked like with his win up at Saratoga that he was going to go on, but he is a Speightstown.”

Wachtel Stable, Pantofel Stable and Jerold Zaro’s Chewing Gum has hit the board in all three Belmont starts this year, finishing second in a seven-furlong optional-claimer in his seasonal debut in May ahead of a closing second behind stablemate Casa Creed in the G1 Jackpocket Jaipur on Belmont Stakes Day.

On Saturday, the 6-year-old Candy Ride bay closed from sixth to finish third, 1 3/4-lengths to front-running winner Arrest Me Red.

“He ran hard again. He’s shown up in every race here this year, but he just hasn’t got to the wire first,” Willaford said. “He needs the speed to come back a little bit, but that didn’t happen yesterday.”

The post Mott Trio In Good Order After Stakes Efforts At Belmont appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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