Red Oak Stable’s homebred Unbridled Mo gutted out a neck’s victory over the previously undefeated Tejana in Saturday’s Grade 3 Monmouth Oaks. Under jockey Paco Lopez, the sophomore daughter of Uncle Mo covered 1 1/16 miles over the fast main track in 1:44.35 for trainer Todd Pletcher.
“I had a good trip,” Lopez said. “My filly doesn’t have too much speed so I wanted to just sit off the pace. She didn’t have too much patience and wanted to go pressure the horse on the lead in the backstretch. She ran very well today and had to work for the win.”
Tejana came out of the gates on par with the rest of the field, but had gained the advantage and angled over to the rail prior to the first turn. Unbridled Mo came out in about fourth position, but Lopez took advantage of her outside post position and allowed the filly to draft forward into second position, about three-quarters of a length off the leading Tejana through a first quarter in :24.05. Tucked in behind those two were Mo’ Green and Mo d’Amour. Those positions remained largely unchanged through a half-mile in :47.92, but nearing the three-quarters pole Mo’ Green dropped back sharply.
At the head of the lane, Tejana still held the advantage by about a half-length. Unbridled Mo came up alongside her but Tejana battled back to regain a slight advantage nearing the sixteenth pole as Mo d’Amour made a three-wide bid down the center of the track. With a final surge, Unbridled Mo rallied again to thrust her neck in front at the wire, defeating Tejana for the first time in her career. Mo d’Amour had to settle for third, no more than a length behind the winner.
A steward’s inquiry was made into the sharp dropping back of Mo’ Green at the start of the first turn, and a jockey’s objection was filed against the rider of Mo d’Amour. but no action was taken against the third-place finisher.
Bred in Kentucky by her owners, Unbridled Mo broke her maiden in her second start at Monmouth Park, then went on to capture an allowance event in her third start. The Monmouth Oaks was her first venture into graded stakes company, and improves the filly’s record to three wins from four starts, with earnings of just over $ 100,000.
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