06/22/2016 2:06PM

Mo Tom just needs clear sailing in Ohio Derby

Barbara D. Livingston
Mo Tom is set to make his first start Saturday since finishing eighth in the Kentucky Derby.

The Ohio Derby continues its rise back toward graded-stakes status Saturday with a solid field of 10 entered in the $500,000 race at Thistledown.

Heading the entries is Mo Tom, the GMB Racing-owned colt trained by Tom Amoss who exits a creditable eighth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby. Mo Tom, as has been the case nearly all season, found trouble in the Derby, losing momentum and ground when steadied on the far turn before coming home with decent energy.

Mo Tom had even worse trouble when finishing fourth in the Louisiana Derby, in which at worst he’d have been second to Gun Runner with a clean run, and second in the Risen Star, where he appeared to be on his way to a win over Gun Runner when he was stopped cold in midstretch. Jockey Javier Castellano replaces Corey Lanerie in the irons.

Mo Tom was considered for the Belmont Stakes following the Kentucky Derby, but his connections took a more conservative approach to point to the Ohio Derby. Mo Tom deserves to win his first race since the Lecomte Stakes in January with all his poor luck this year and figures to be a shorter-priced favorite to do so than his 5-2 morning-line odds.

Also in the 1 1/8-mile dirt race are the third-, fourth-, and fifth-place finishers from the May 14 Peter Pan Stakes – Wild About Deb, Adventist, and Decorated Soldier. Wild About Deb, another horse who was considered for the Belmont Stakes, has been working at Churchill Downs for trainer Phil D’Amato, whose main string is based in California. Wild About Deb is the likely second betting choice in the race and might even challenge Mo Tom for favoritism if bettors overlook Mo Tom’s troubled trips.

The rest of the Ohio Derby field includes Thatlookonyerface, Mo Don’t No, Van Damme, Discreet Lover, Riding in the Wind, and Cocked and Loaded.

The Ohio Derby, long the feature of the Thistledown season, lost its graded status in 2014 but, with a purse boost to $500,000 last year, likely is on the way back to being a Grade 3.

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