OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Don Alberto Stable’s Forza Di Oro made the grade in Saturday’s 76th running of the Grade 3, $100,000 Discovery, a nine-furlong test for sophomores at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, the Speightstown chestnut arrived at the Discovery from a narrow victory in a 1 1/16-mile first-level allowance on October 9 at Belmont Park, where he registered a 96 Beyer Speed Figure.
Forza Di Oro broke sharply from post 3 in the five-horse field and was taken back and edged to the rail by jockey Junior Alvarado, as post-time favorite and dual stakes winner Monday Morning Qb led the field into the first turn through an opening quarter of 23.43 seconds with 24-1 longshot Ralston tracking one path to the outside in second over the fast main track.
Alvarado had a tight hold on Forza Di Oro, who was just to the outside of multiple-stakes placed Attachment Rate as Monday Morning Qb produced an easy half-mile in 47.53.
Around the far turn, Forza Di Oro still sought racing room but found an opening a few jumps past the quarter-pole in pursuit of the front end. Forza Di Oro collared Monday Morning Qb at the eighth pole and drew off to a 3 ¾ length-victory in a time of 1:50.03.
Monday Morning Qb, with Dylan Davis up, held off a late-charge from two-time graded stakes winner Shared Sense, who finished third. Attachment Rate and Ralston completed the order of finish.
Fresh off a successful Friday at the Big A with two stakes victories, Alvarado said he was satisfied with the trip.
“I was pretty happy the whole way around. I knew what I had underneath and whatever position I was in, he’d be there for me. He makes my job easier,” said Alvarado, who has piloted the horse in all five of his lifetime starts. “He broke nicely today and after that he put me in the spot where we wanted to be. I was a passenger the whole way around. He was just waiting for me to give him the green light when we turned for home. It was the first time for him being on the inside like that and when we started moving forward, he hesitated a little bit, but after a few jumps, he knew what to do and went by the other horse.”
Alvarado added that Forza Di Oro’s ability to switch leads was crucial.
“When he switches leads like he did today, he gives that next gear,” Alvarado said. “We’ll keep working with him. He’s a very talented horse. He’s a horse that works very nice in the morning and we’ve been high on him since the beginning. He had to stop with some issues he had, but he came back very strong this year. Mentally, he still hasn’t caught up with his body. He’s a big guy with a nice, long stride but I think mentally, he still has to put it together.”
Banking $55,000 in victory, Forza Di Oro enhanced his lifetime earnings to $148,875 through a 5-3-1-0 record.
A Kentucky homebred, Forza Di Oro, who returned $8.30, provided his dam Filare l’Oro with her second graded stakes-winning progeny. The stakes-winning daughter of Hard Spun also produced three-time graded stakes winner Silver Dust.
While switching leads was to the winner’s advantage, the same couldn’t be said regarding the Butch Reid-trained Monday Morning Qb, who entered the Discovery from a victory in the Maryland Million Classic under Sheldon Russell on October 24 at Laurel Park.
“Butch said he tends to break a little slow the first two jumps,” Davis said. “I just did what Sheldon did in his last race and gave him a couple pops and he gets on the bridle. We got on the lead and he was aggressive, but he was doing good. He’s a really big horse and it takes him a little bit to switch his leads, but I thought he still ran well. The other horse was just a little bit better today.”
Live racing resumes Sunday at the Big A with a 10-race card, highlighted by the Grade 3, $100,000 Fall Highweight Handicap for 3-year-olds and upward going six furlongs over the main track; the $100,000 Tepin for juvenile fillies going 1 1/16 miles over the turf; and the $100,000 Autumn Days for fillies and mares 3-years-old and upward going six furlongs on the turf. First post is 11:50 a.m. Eastern.
Press Release/Ryan Martin
Forza Di Oro (NYRA/Coglianese)