by Teresa Genaro
First Steve Asmussen, now Bill Mott: it is, apparently, en vogue at Saratoga this summer to sweep the two-year-old maiden special weight races on a given card, and for Mott, it happened on the August 5 Whitney undercard.
Scheduled at 1 1/16 miles on the inner turf, the 2ND race was moved to the dirt, labeled good, and run at seven furlongs. Nine juveniles stayed in the race despite the surface switch, four of them first-time starters.
CASA CREED was among the experienced ones, having run the week before on July 28 over a good dirt track at Saratoga, finishing sixth.
“I’d run on either surface,” Mott said. “He ran well enough the other day; it wasn’t a horrible race. He didn’t quit and kept coming a little bit and made a little move when he turned for home.”
Breaking from post 3, Casa Creed and Junior Alvarado ran two to three lengths behind the leaders just off the rail, no doubt because of the torrential rain that Saratoga had received overnight. Alvarado began asking the bay colt coming around the final turn, and stymied for running room with a wall of three horses in front of him, he swiftly went four-wide, vigorously urging the colt from the top of the stretch.
Casa Creed put away all of his rivals except Social Paranoia, the narrow second choice, finally getting past him to win by 1 1/4 lengths.
Campaigned by Lee Einsidler’s LRE Racing LLC, the son of Jimmy Creed was selected for Einsidler at last year’s Keeneland September Yearling Sale by trainer Ken McPeek.
“Bill’s my trainer, and Ken knows that,” Einsidler said. “Ken has a good eye for a horse and I’ve worked with him several times on buying horses.”
Bred in Kentucky by Silver Springs Stud, Casa Creed is out of the Bellamy Road mare Achalaya. Einsidler paid $105,000 for him.
“He’s never missed a day of training, and he’s doing great up here,” Einsidler said. “When Bill brought him back today, I thought we had a pretty good chance, and he ran great.”
When asked about plans for the colt, Mott laughed and said, “I don’t know. Lee’s got plans.”
Einsidler added, “Good question. I think he’ll be on the dirt, but the trainer will decide. If you leave it up to me, I’ll see you at the Hopeful ([G1] on September 3 at Saratoga).”
A couple of hours later, the track had been upgraded to fast and the result was the same: Mott was back in the winner’s circle with a two-year-old, this one a homebred.
Bred and owned by Claiborne Farm and Adele B. Dilschneider, MUCHO is by Blame and out of the Pulpit mare Extent. Mott trained both Extent and Mucho’s half-sister Size, winner of the 2014 Iowa Oaks (G3).
The bay colt made his first start at Belmont Park on June 10, finishing second. On Saturday, he was a no-doubt-about-it winner, mucho, mucho the best.
“I was pleasantly surprised at what good shape the track was in, even this morning,” Mott said. “They had the cones out and it looks like a good racetrack. When I went home to change at 11, they were already harrowing it. You could tell it was going to be in pretty good shape.”
With Jose Ortiz in the saddle, Mucho broke from post 6 and took position near the front of the field. Justice of War and Fabulous Fun exchanged the lead, with Mucho just behind them. He drew beside the leaders and passed them, drawing away at will to win by 9 3/4 lengths as the 2-1 favorite.
“I trained his mother and I trained a half-sister to him,” said Mott, watching the replay, “so it’s gratifying to have the family.”