02/27/2016 6:13PM

Mo d'Amour could be Stanco's ticket back to Kentucky Oaks

Joe Labozzetta/NYRA
Mo d'Amour strenthened her Kentucky Oaks credentials by winning the Busher Stakes under Chris DeCarlo.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Owner Ed Stanco truly enjoyed the feeling of winning the Kentucky Oaks three years ago with longshot Princess of Sylmar.

He may get the opportunity to do it again with another longshot in Mo d’Amour.

Mo d’Amour, under Chris DeCarlo, rallied to win Saturday’s $125,000 Busher Stakes at Aqueduct by two lengths over Dreams to Reality, earning 50 qualifying points toward the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs on May 6. Princess of Sylmar - who like Mo d’Amour was trained by Todd Pletcher - also won the Busher back in 2013.

This year, the Oaks field is likely to include undefeated stalwarts Songbird and Cathryn Sophia.

“A friend of mine said to me ‘Ed, you want to go to the Black-Eyed Susan if you can, you got to stay away from Songbird,’ “ Stanco said Saturday in the winner’s circle. I said ‘That’s what they said about Dreaming of Julia.’ “

Stanco was referring to Dreaming of Julia, who was the 3-2 favorite in the Kentucky Oaks while Princess of Sylmar was sent off at 38-1.

“When you’re on that Kentucky Oaks [trail] it feels pretty good,” Stanco said. “We’ll see. It’s all up to Todd and how the horse trains, if she’s ready. We got a long way to go before that, but this was a nice performance.”

DeCarlo said he expected to have Mo d’Amour in a stalking position three wide. But she got jostled at the start when Dreams to Reality broke into Arch or Nothing, who in turn bumped with Mo ‘Amour.

Instead, DeCarlo had Mo d’Amour on the rail in fourth, inside of 6-5 favorite Katniss the Victor and just two lengths off the pace. Whistling Straits, under John Bisono, ran an opening half-mile in 49.41 seconds, stalked by Lost Raven.

“I saw the opportunity to dive down to the fence so that’s what I did,” DeCarlo said.

Turning for home, Katniss the Victor, under Aaron Gryder, went after the leaders and DeCarlo was able to get Mo d’Amour off the rail and set sail for Katniss the Victor. Mo d’Amour struck the front just outside the eighth pole, ran head and with Katniss the Victor until inside the sixteenth pole before edging away under a few taps of DeCarlo’s left-handed whip.

Dreams to Reality, under Kendrick Carmouche, followed Mo d’Amour down the backside before swinging extremely wide in the stretch. While she couldn’t catch Mo d’Amour, she was able to get second by a head over Katniss the Victor. It was 3 1/2 lengths back to Flora Dora in third. Lost Raven, Whistling Straits, and Arch or Nothing completed the order of finish.

Mo d’Amour, a daughter of Uncle Mo who brought $75,000 at auction, covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:47.37 and returned $10 as the third choice.

“Chris did a good job swinging her outside coming home,” said Byron Hughes, New York assistant to Pletcher. “She kept on grinding, grinding. I still think she was waiting on other horses when she got there. I think she’s a little green but definitely more professional than last time. More experience is helping.”

If Mo d’Amour follows the Princess of Sylmar path to the Kentucky Oaks, she will most likely make her next start in the Grade 2, $300,000 Gazelle at Aqueduct on April 9.