05/20/2017 5:48PM

No Mo Dough, learning on the job, wins Sir Barton Stakes

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Barbara D. Livingston
No Mo Dough and jockey Jose Ortiz win the Sir Barton Stakes by 2 3/4 lengths.

BALTIMORE – Coming back in two weeks typically isn’t among the angles attempted by trainer Graham Motion, but it worked to perfection Saturday, when No Mo Dough rallied powerfully to win the 20th running of the $100,000 Sir Barton Stakes on the Preakness undercard at Pimlico.

Fresh off a first-level allowance win on the Kentucky Derby undercard at Churchill Downs, No Mo Dough returned $20 in his stakes debut and fourth overall start. Jose Ortiz was aboard for both wins, both at 1 1/16 miles.

“Jose told me the other day at Churchill the horse didn’t even know what he was doing, and he still won,” said Motion. “He just came out of the race so well.”                                

Bred and owned by Alex Campbell Jr., No Mo Dough finished 2 3/4 lengths before Time to Travel, with True Timber a nose back in third. The winning time was 1:44.13 over a track rated “good.”

No Mo Dough was subjected to a stewards’ inquiry into the stretch run, in which he angled in sharply when launching his rally and appeared to briefly cause minor crowding. After about 10 minutes, the stewards decided to disqualify Hedge Fund, the 11-10 favorite in a field of nine 3-year-olds, from fourth to sixth for his role in that jumble.

From the start, Time to Travel contested the lead from just outside of True Timber, with No Mo Dough nicely settled toward the rear in eighth. The leading pair continued to go toe-to-toe down the stretch, passed only by the winner while holding off all the others.

“He put me in a good position,” said Ortiz. “He was relaxed where he was, and when I asked him to run at the three-eighths pole, I felt like I had plenty of horse. He’s still a little green, but he’s a nice horse.”

The $2 exacta (5-9) paid $98, the $1 trifecta (5-9-7) returned $317.10, and the 10-cent superfecta (5-9-7-1) was worth $136.30.

Motion, based primarily at the Fair Hill Training Center in northern Maryland, was asked whether a run on Belmont Stakes Day – in the big race itself – was a possibility for No Mo Dough after racing on the Derby and Preakness undercards.

“To come back in three weeks would be a lot,” he said. “I want to look after him now. He’s a really cool horse.”