09/07/2016 3:30PM

Amoss brings Mo Tom back home for Super Derby

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Barbara D. Livingston
Tom Amoss will try to win his first Super Derby with Mo Tom.

Trainer Tom Amoss is synonymous with Fair Grounds as a 10-time title winner at the New Orleans track, but it was at Louisiana Downs that he got his first big break.

“It was the Shreveport meet in 1987,” Amoss recalled. “I only had a few horses, and it was that meet where I attracted the attention of John Franks. He gave me some horses.”

Franks, the late oilman, operated his Eclipse Award-winning stable out of offices in Shreveport. Amoss capitalized on the opportunity given him and would go on to win more than 300 races at Louisiana Downs while stabled there on a regular basis through 1995.

Amoss, who has now saddled the winners of more than 3,200 races, also notched his first career stakes win at Louisiana Downs. He will be back at the track Saturday to win the meet’s main event for the first time. Amoss, 54, has sent Mo Tom to Louisiana Downs for the Grade 3, $400,000 Super Derby.

Mo Tom is coming off a win in the Ohio Derby and figures to vie for favoritism with Dalmore, the winner of the Grade 3 Affirmed at Santa Anita. Mo Tom had success on the Kentucky Derby trail this year, winning the Grade 3 Lecomte in January at Fair Grounds, but in actuality is a late-developing 3-year-old for G M B Racing.

“Tom is a late foal,” Amoss said. “He was born in May, and although he’s tall – 17 hands tall – it’s taken a lot of time for his body to mature based on the late foaling date of May. He truly is like the 15-year-old kid that’s [6-foot-6] and weighs 150 pounds. That’s his look. That look is starting to change. He’s getting thicker through his body, through its core, and it’s noticeable in how he presents himself.”

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The Super Derby will be Mo Tom’s first start since June 25, when he rolled to a three-length win in the $500,000 Ohio Derby at Thistledown. Since then, he had been under consideration for stakes action at Saratoga and was entered but then scratched from the West Virginia Derby.

“Tom got to Saratoga, and he just did not show a liking for the racetrack there,” Amoss said. “With that in mind, we were like, ‘Well, we’re going to go to the West Virginia Derby.’ But as it got closer, we thought with him not liking the track [at Saratoga], we’re better off getting more training underneath him before running, so that’s what we did. He’s had a consistent work pattern, and I feel like he’s ready to get the distance on Saturday.”

Amoss twice has won the Super Derby prep at Louisiana Downs, the Prelude, and has had three prior starters in the Super Derby, with his best finish a third with Populist Politics in 2011. Mo Tom gives him his best chance yet at the Super Derby, a race close to his heart and the race most synonymous with Louisiana Downs.

“I’ve been training for close to 30 years, and I’ve never won it,” Amoss said. “I would love to win it, having both my kids being born in Shreveport when we were racing there.”