(Trainer Bill Mott / Photo by Holly M. Smith)
From the Fair Grounds Media Team:
In the second division of the Risen Star, Pam and Martin Wygod’s Modernist pressed early fractions of 24.38 and 48.57 from the inside, took over at the top of the stretch, and then held off the late advances of Major Fed (20 Derby points) to win by 1 ½ lengths in a final time of 1:51.28. The pacesetting NY Traffic (ten Derby points) held on well for third, and Mailman Money (five Derby points) was fourth. Following a troubled run into the first turn, the even-money favorite Anneau d’Or finished ninth.
Jockey Junior Alvarado — Modernist (1st):
“I took advantage of being drawn on the rail,” Alvarado said of the son of Uncle Mo. “He put me in a good spot early on and when I asked for more, he gave it to me. I’ve always been high on him. I think he’s still learning how to be a race horse but he has so much talent and I’m really proud of him.”
Trainer Bill Mott — Modernist:
One year ago, trainer Bill Mott watched his Country House finish second behind War of Will in the Risen Star, and that recently retired colt would later become the adjudicated winner of the Kentucky Derby.
“Interestingly, I pulled out Country House’s past performances and this horse’s past performances and they were similar,” Mott said. “When they ran the first time, when they ran the second time, when the Risen Star was. I got to looking at it and I said, ‘boy, I could see a repeat here’.’”
“He won at a mile and an eighth in New York to break his maiden and has progressed really well in this early part of his three-year-old year,” Mott said. “He’s become more mature and has been more professional about everything. I couldn’t be more delighted with how he acted in the paddock and post parade. I told Junior (Alvarado, jockey) to take advantage of the one hole. The horse handled everything really well.”
“I think the (Fair Grounds) idea to make this race a 1 1/8 miles was s really good move,” Mott continued. “It gives us a chance to go nine furlongs this early in the season and it’s hard to find that. Obviously more than twenty horses wanted to run so it gave all of us a great opportunity.”
Jockey Julien Leparoux — Major Fed (2nd):
“He ran a great race,” jockey Julien Leparoux said. “We had a great trip and I thought I was going to win for a second, but he got a little tired at the end. He still showed a ton of heart and I’m proud of him.”
Trainer Blaine Wright — Anneau d’Or (9th):
Bet down to even money favoritism off runner-up performances in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) and the Los Alamitos Futurity (G2), the California invader Anneau d’Or finished a head-scratching ninth.
“He was pretty good back at the barn (after the race) and he scoped clean” trainer Blaine Wright said about an hour after the race. “I’m not sure what to think at this point. We will just have to re-evaluate and go from there.”