<
>

Mo' Green faces Terra Promessa in duPont Distaff

BALTIMORE -- Trainer John Servis occasionally returns from his Philadelphia base to where he pulled off one of the great moments in Preakness history.

"I was back there at Pimlico to run a few in stakes last year," Servis said by phone this week. "It always brings back good memories."

Servis was the trainer of Smarty Jones, who set the Preakness record win margin of 11 1/2 lengths in his 2004 romp. On Friday, Servis will return to Pimlico to saddle Mo' Green, one of the top contenders in a field of eight fillies and mares in the Grade 3, $150,000 Allaire duPont Distaff.

"She's a real nice filly," said Servis, who began training Mo' Green in Florida in late February, when the DJ Stable of Leonard Green moved about a dozen horses into his care. "Hopefully, she'll be able to stay fairly close and make a run."

Mo' Green, with Irad Ortiz Jr. to ride, will break from post 3 in the 1 1/8-mile duPont Distaff. The 4-year-old Uncle Mo filly comes off a 3 1/2-length triumph in the Grade 3 Top Flight on April 2 at Aqueduct in her first out for Servis after registering three wins and three seconds from 10 starts for trainer Joe Orseno.

"As well as she ran in New York, I think [Steve] Asmussen has the horse to beat," said Servis.

That would be Terra Promessa (post 4, Jose Ortiz), who finished second behind Stellar Wind in the Grade 1 Apple Blossom last month at Oaklawn Park. Owned and bred by Stonestreet Stables, the 4-year-old daughter of Curlin is a four-time stakes winner.

"She's a good example of a Curlin getting better with age," said Asmussen. "She's very easy to be around and easy on everyone around her."

Terra Promessa is the 6-5 favorite on the morning line issued by Pimlico oddsmaker Keith Feustle, followed by Carrumba (post 6, Javier Castellano) at 3-1 and Mo' Green at 4-1.

Carrumba, a gray 5-year-old mare trained by Shug McGaughey, will add blinkers when stretching out from a pair of so-so sprint efforts on her New York home circuit. The Phipps Stable homebred hasn't won since capturing the 2016 renewal of the Top Flight.

Completing the duPont lineup are Power of Snunner (post 1, Mike Smith), most recently second among a field of just four in the Grade 3 Doubledogdare at Keeneland; She's a Warrior (post 2, Gary Stevens), in off a second-level allowance win at Santa Anita for trainer Peter Eurton; Shes a True Beauty (post 7, Florent Geroux), the winner of an off-the-turf allowance on the Kentucky Oaks undercard for trainer Dallas Stewart; and longshots Winter (post 5, Trevor McCarthy) and Serious Happiness (post 8, Jose Flores).

Inaugurated as the Pimlico Distaff in 1992, when Craig Perret rode Wilderness Song to victory for Sam-Son Farm, the duPont is the first of seven stakes on the 14-race card. It goes as race 5 at 1:34 p.m. Eastern.