Mo Tom closed fast to win Saturday’s $200,000 TwinSpires.com Lecomte (G3) at Fair Grounds, posting a 2 ¼-length decision in the Kentucky Derby qualifying race. Trained by Tom Amoss and ridden by Corey Lanerie, the 3-year-old colt headed a 1-2 finish for Tom & Gayle Benson’s GMB Racing, who also owns runner-up Tom ‘s Ready.

Off as the 2-1 favorite, Mo Tom picked up 10 points after completing a mile and 70 yards in 1:43.18 on the fast track. The son of Uncle Mo is now seventh in the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard standings with a total of 12 points, picking up 2 previously for a fast-finishing third, beaten only 1 ¾ lengths, in the November 28 Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) at Churchill Downs.

Mo Tom flattered the form of Airoforce and Mor Spirit, the top two respective finishers in the Kentucky Jockey Club.

“Great way to start his 3-year-old season,” Amoss said. “Today’s race was a mile and 70 (yards), I’m sure Corey (Lanerie) would agree, when the distance gets further, the better our horse is going to get so we’re really excited about that. I have to say Gayle Benson has been great, she’s a great owner and she gets a big assist from her partner Tom Benson. We’re really pleased, they’re both New Orleans natives – we’re really happy.”

Tom’s Ready shares common ownership but is trained by Dallas Stewart.

Mo Ready rated toward the back of the nine-horse field before advancing along the inside on the far turn and swung wide for the stretch drive. Tom’s Ready opened a one-length lead in midstretch but could not withstand the bold late run of the winner, who blew by in deep stretch to earn his first graded stakes victory.

“It was good, he broke really good and got pinched a little bit going into the first turn,” Lanerie said of his trip. “We got knocked a little off stride there but he gathered himself up really good. Down the backside I was pretty confident, especially when I called on him to get in a little bit better position. On the middle of the turn I was going to try to maybe weave my way through but I had so much horse I said, ‘let me just put him in the clear.’”

Tom’s Ready finished three-quarters of a length better than Uncle Walter in third. Destin came next in fourth and was followed by pacesetter Z Royal, Pinnacle Peak, Fish Trappe Road, Mending Fences and Tarpon Bay Road.

Battle Tap, Dolphus, Indygo Breeze, Noble Thought, Riding in the Wind and Tiznoble were all scratched.

Mo Tom was bred in Kentucky by Hargus & Sandra Sexton & Silver Fern Farm and sold for $150,000 at the 2014 Keeneland September yearling sale.

Winner of the listed Street Sense at Churchill Downs on Novmber 1, Mo Tom has now earned $211,526 from a 5-3-0-2 record.

Photo courtesy of Fair Grounds/Amanda Weir Hodges/Hodges Photography