Mo Maverick decisive winner of Monmouth’s Lamplighter Stakes

Saturday, July 29th, 2017

Bill Denver/Equi-Photo

By Sarah  Mace

Three-times stakes placed already, Mo Maverick (Uncle Mo) got his breakthrough black type victory on Saturday afternoon with a decisive score over five rivals in the 1 1/16-mile, $60,000 Lamplighter Stakes for 3-year-olds at Monmouth Park.

Bet down to even money, Mo Maverick stalked a length behind longshot pacesetter Hot and Heavy for the opening half mile. Asked for more approaching the far turn, the colt caught up with Hot and Heavy and, in the bend, made a decisive move between the pacesetter and Holiday Bonus, who had ranged up on his outside, and poked his head in front.

Opening up daylight in the stretch, Mo Maverick roared home a 1 1/2-length winner, with never an anxious moment. Dover Cliffs, Harlan Strong and Holiday Bonus finished next in order a neck and a nose apart, followed by Muggsamatic. The final time for the race was 1:42.80 over a “good” turf course.

“He sat just off the early pace and was comfortable,” said winning rider Eddie Castro, who had the assignment aboard ‘Mo’ for the first time on Saturday. “I felt the horse [Holiday Bonus] come pressure me on the outside and I asked [Mo Maverick] to run and he took off. He’s a really good horse.”

Bill Denver/Equi-Photo

Trained by George Weaver for RA Hill Stable and Gatsas Stables, Mo Maverick compiled a strong juvenile record last year after transitioning from dirt to turf and stretching out to a route of ground. Breaking his maiden by seven lengths at third asking at Aqueduct on November 13, he came right back to win a state-bred allowance on November 26. The colt wrapped up his 2-year-old campaign on the Aqueduct inner, where he finished second in the Damon Runyon Stakes on December 29.

Following a 10-week winter break, the colt came roaring back off the bench to win an allowance turf sprint at Gulfstream Park by more than three lengths on March 11. He then posted a pair of solid performances in stakes company. A game third in a blanket photo for place behind Yoshida in the James W. Murphy Stakes at Pimlico on May 20, Mo Maverick finished a fourth to Frostmourne in the Grade 2 Penn Mile on June 3. The Lamplighter provided some welcome class relief.

Bred by Gentry Stable and foaled at Blue Chip Farms in Wallkill, Mo Maverick is the first foal out of Lemon Splendor (Lemon Drop Kid). Bred by Gallagher’s Stud, campaigned by Jim and Susan Hill and trained by George Weaver, Lemon Splendor won the 2011 Swirlaway Stakes for New York-breds as a juvenile. In 2013 the mare sold to Arch Bloodstock in foal at the 2013 Keeneland January sale for a bargain price of $10,000. In addition to Mo Maverick, she now has a placed juvenile by Tapizar named Raging Fire and a weanling filly by Carpe Diem.

Mike Ryan purchased Mo Maverick at the Keeneland September yearling sale for $200,000. From four wins, two seconds and a third from nine starts, the colt has earned $204,700.

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