September 28, 2023

Mo Forza dominates again in City of Hope Mile

Mo Forza
Mo Forza and jockey Flavien Prat win the City of Hope Mile © BENOIT PHOTO

Mo Forza required six starts to break his maiden, but he’s more than made up for lost time since then, developing into a nearly unstoppable miler of the highest caliber.

The 4-year-old son of Uncle Mo has rattled off six wins from seven starts dating back to his initial victory on Sept. 29, 2019. Triumphs in the Twilight Derby (G2), Hollywood Derby (G1), Mathis Brothers Mile (G2), and Del Mar Mile H. (G2) have repeatedly demonstrated Mo Forza’s quality against graded stakes company, yet he was arguably more impressive than ever in Saturday’s City of Hope Mile (G2) at Santa Anita.

Facing half a dozen rivals while toting top weight of 126 pounds, the Peter Miller trainee was favored at 3-5 to continue his winning ways. Though primarily known for his tactical speed as a sophomore, Mo Forza has become more relaxed and reserved as an older runner. Breaking from the outside post in a field of seven, Mo Forza was perfectly content to settle in fifth place early on, racing by himself about four lengths off the pace.

Fast early splits of :22.58, :45.61, and 1:08.76 set the stage for Mo Forza to unleash a big finish down the homestretch, and the bay 4-year-old didn’t disappoint. After slipping inside a rival on the far turn, Mo Forza switched smoothly to the outside under jockey Flavien Prat and swallowed the leaders with eye-catching authority to score by 1 3/4 lengths.

The clock tells the full story of Mo Forza’s terrific turn of foot. According to Trakus, the 3-5 favorite sprinted the final two furlongs in :11.34 apiece to complete the race in a blazing 1:32.09, just 0.40 off the course record. Stakes winners Sharp Samurai and Bob and Jackie were no match for Mo Forza while finishing second and third, followed by Blitzkrieg, Majestic Eagle, Royal Ship, and Restrainedvengence.

“He pretty much had the same trip as he did in the Del Mar Mile,” Prat told Santa Anita. “I think he’s getting more and more professional which is great. Today he showed up again.”

The Nov. 7 Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) at Keeneland is next on the agenda for Mo Forza, who is owned in partnership by breeder Bardy Farm and OG Boss. It remains to be seen how Mo Forza will handle a cross-country trip for the year-end championships; in his lone previous start outside of California, he finished ninth in the Jan. 25 Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1).

But if Mo Forza takes to the Keeneland turf course, watch out. With his tactical speed and relaxed running style, he could be a major threat to steal the show.