Pam and Martin Wygod’s homebred Modernist earned 50 points on the “2020 Road to the Kentucky Derby” following his one-length tally in the second division of the Risen Star (G2) at Fair Grounds. The 3-year-old colt picked up his initial stakes win after completing nine panels in 1:51.28 under the guidance of regular rider Junior Alvarado.
Modernist first appeared at Belmont Park on September 28 to contest a maiden special weight dash. Sent off at 7-1 odds on debut, the son of Uncle Mo was not involved early but did rally late to be defeated by just 3 ½ lengths under the wire behind a solid field.
Trained by Bill Mott, Modernist made his second start as a juvenile at Aqueduct and stretched out to a mile. Tracking from off the tempo, the Kentucky-bred again showed life in the stretch and was third, beaten by 1 ¾ lengths.
Modernist graduated going 1 ⅛ miles on a ‘good’ main oval at Aqueduct on January 20, leading at every call en route to a four-length romp. He now boasts a two-race win streak, and his improvement is not lost on his conditioner.
Mott stated after the race, “Instead of acting like a coltish 2-year-old, he’s started acting like a more mature horse and more professional about everything.” The winner is expected to return to Fair Grounds to contest the $1 million Louisiana Derby (G2) on March 26.
The dark bay colt is the first foal produced from the unraced Bernardini mare Symbolic Gesture. She counts herself as a half-sister to 2004 champion Two-Year-Old Filly Sweet Catomine, 2009 Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) queen Life is Sweet, as well as stakes winner and sire Calimonco. His second dam is Broodmare of the Year Sweet Life, who herself is a half-sister to a trio of black-type winners led by Grade 1 vixen Pirate’s Revenge.
Modernist is a steadily improving colt who appears more than capable of handling a classic distance in the spring. He already has a pair of 1 ⅛ miles wins to his credit, and further improvement is expected from him, as well.

The colt has endured favorable trips in both of his wins, however, good horses make their own luck. And Modernist is a very good horse.

(Photo Credit: Hodges Photography / Amanda Hodges Weir)