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Now The Next In, Grand Mo the First Preps for KY Derby

The son of Uncle Mo was elevated into 21st on the Derby leaderboard April 14.

Grand Mo the First wins an allowance optional claiming race at Gulfstream Park

Grand Mo the First wins an allowance optional claiming race at Gulfstream Park

Coglianese Photos/Lauren King

Granpollo Stable's Grand Mo the First, who finished a distant third behind Fierceness in the $1 million Florida Derby (G1), was sent to the track April 14 for a five-furlong maintenance workout at Gulfstream Park.

The Victor Barboza Jr. trainee was timed in 1:03.95 in his first breeze since the March 30 Florida Derby. Following the defection of Jose D'Angelo-trained No More Time, who came out of a five-furlong breeze Sunday morning at Palm Meadows Training Center with an injury, the son of Uncle Mo  sits 21st under the guidelines that will determine the 20-horse field for the May 4 Kentucky Derby (G1).

"It was very bad news at Palm Meadows," Barboza said. "I think 21 is a good position. Next week, the horse will breeze at Gulfstream, and if everything is OK, he will go to Churchill."

Grand Mo the First gave his trainer exactly what he was looking for Sunday morning.

"It was a very relaxed breeze. It was important for me for him to finish strong after the wire," Barboza said. "The horse is a happy horse."

Grand Mo the First raced evenly while chasing Fierceness throughout the 1 1/8 miles of the Florida Derby, finishing 16 lengths behind the 2023 juvenile champion, 2 1/2 lengths behind runner-up Catalytic. Three weeks earlier, the son of Uncle Mo missed winning the Tampa Bay Derby (G3) by a neck while finishing third behind victorious Domestic Product and runner-up No More Time.

Grand Mo the First launched his career with back-to-back victories over Gulfstream's Tapeta course before finishing third in the Oct. 8 Zuma Beach Stakes (G3) on turf at Santa Anita Park. He kicked off his 3-year-old campaign with a troubled third-place finish in the Feb. 3 Swale Stakes at Gulfstream before stretching out in the Tampa Bay Derby.

Should Barboza have the opportunity to saddle Grand Mo the First for a start in the Kentucky Derby, it would be a dream come true.

"It's been a dream since I was a child in Venezuela. Every year, I watched the Kentucky Derby," Barboza said. "I have a good chance today to enter the Derby."

This press release has been edited for content and style by BloodHorse Staff.