Lady and The Track | January 18, 2022

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Mor Spirit Needs Just A Bit of Kentucky Derby Luck

Mor Spirit Needs Just A Bit of Kentucky Derby Luck: Usually the horses that don’t shine in their last Derby preps tend to be forgotten. The main reason is because people like horses who visually peak at the right moment, so a flop or an unexpected effort in the race before the Derby is not a good sign. This is probably the case for Mor Spirit, but he certainly has some valid excuses.

Mor Spirit 2016

The Kentucky Derby is the race for Mor Spirit to show all his skills. He hasn’t missed a work and is doing what he usually does in the mornings. Therefore, good preparation and a dry track would guarantee a nice effort, so don’t be surprised if you see Mor Spirit fighting for the victory down the Churchill Downs stretch. Photo: Coady Photography

Mor Spirit, who finished a distant second in the Santa Anita Derby (GI) and was never a threat to the winner Exaggerator, noticeably felt uncomfortable during the trip, particularly because of the sloppy track according to jockey Gary Stevens in a Santa Anita press release interview. “We got hit by the first wave of water and mud going into the first turn,” Gary Stevens said of Mor Spirit. “He slipped with me and started lunging.”

In fact, a sloppy track could always be an excuse for a horse. There are horses who love the slop, and some others hate it. While Exaggerator fell in love with the Santa Anita Derby day track conditions, Mor Spirit struggled to reach second place.

Good luck has certainly not graced Mor Spirit with its presence recently. While prepping for the San Felipe Stakes, he missed a week of training. However, he was able to close well to finish second to Danzing Candy and looked the best in the gallop out.

Mor Spirit, a son of Eskendereya out of I’m a Dixie Girl, by Dixie Union, has a record of three wins and four seconds in seven starts, meaning he has never finished worse than second during his career. Mor Spirit is trained by Bob Baffert, ridden by Gary Stevens, and owned by Michael Lund Petersen.

Mor Spirit’s sire, Eskendereya, was the favorite to win the race for the roses in 2010 but got injured a few days before the race. Eskendereya entered stud in 2011 at Taylor Made Stallions in Nicholasville, Kentucky, but was surprisingly sold to Japan in 2015. Mor Spirit’s broodmare sire, Dixie Union, produced Belmont Stakes winner Union Rags, so there’s plenty of stamina influence in his pedigree.

Mor Spirit is a grinder and looks like he wants to go long. In fact, he can take advantage of his running style to just grind and grind, pass the tired front runners, and hold off the closers. Mor Spirit is a horse with little acceleration, so horses can easily pass him at some stage of the race. However, he can close the gap and catch them again, like he did with Exaggerator in the San Felipe Stakes.

The Kentucky Derby is the race for Mor Spirit to show all his skills. He hasn’t missed a work and is doing what he usually does in the mornings. Therefore, good preparation and a dry track would guarantee a nice effort, so don’t be surprised if you see Mor Spirit fighting for the victory down the Churchill Downs stretch.

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