ELMONT, N.Y. - Woodhaven runner-up Mighty Mo is set to take on a field of up-and-coming grass sprinters in Saturday's featured race at Belmont Park, the $100,000 Paradise Creek for 3-year-olds at seven furlongs on the Widener turf course.
Mighty Mo, owned by Jake Ballis and Rashard Lewis, has been near-perfect since joining Hall of Famer Bill Mott's barn after his Saratoga Race Course debut last summer. Making his first start in more than five months in March at Gulfstream Park, the Uncle Mo colt raced near the pace and held off a late challenge to break his maiden by a length.
Moving north to Aqueduct Racetrack a few weeks later, Mighty Mo was valiant in his Woodhaven defeat, seizing the lead early and battled gamely through the stretch before being worn down by a tenacious Highland Sky.
"That was a very good effort for him and he's trained well since," said Mott's Belmont-based assistant Leanna Willaford. "I'm happy with him. He's coming into [the race] in really good form, it's just going to be a question about the cut back in distance, if it suits it or not."
Installed as the 8-5 morning line favorite, Mighty Mo will be ridden by Hall of Famer John Velazquez from the outside post.
Patricia Generazio's Too Discreet will try to rebound from his fourth-place effort in the Woodhaven, the gray colt's first race in eight months. A full brother to multiple graded stakes winner Discreet Marq, the Christophe Clement trainee impressed in his Saratoga unveiling, winning a turf sprint against New York-breds by 2 ½ lengths, and followed up with a neck victory in the Schenectady on August 21.
Sidelined for the remainder of his juvenile year, Too Discreet stretched out for his comeback race and chased the pace in the 1 1/16-mile Woodhaven, settling in second behind Mighty Mo before checking in 4 ½ lengths behind the winner.
"I thought he got a bit tired," Clement said. "Maybe it was a bit too far and it was his first race in a while. He's trained well and has had some good works on the turf. He's got natural speed and it's going to be a good race.
"That horse of Mr. Mott's will be very tough but we'll take him on," he added. "I'm excited to see him run again."
At 4-1 on the morning line, Too Discreet will leave from post 5 with Joel Rosario aboard.
Trainer Mark Casse will be represented by Conquest Stables' Conquest See Ya, set at 2-1 on the morning line. A $600,000 2-year-old in training purchase last year, the Adios Charlie colt finished third in his first race on the Woodbine Tapeta. Conquest See Ya broke his maiden in his second try, donning blinkers for the first time and grabbing the lead early to post a three-quarter-length victory on the Belmont green on April 30.
Drawing the rail, Conquest See Ya will be ridden by Jose Lezcano.
Rounding out the field for the Paradise Creek are Wicked Wink, a French import this spring who tired on a sloppy main track in his North American debut for the Tom Albertrani barn on May 4; Marc Keller's homebred Rappel, eighth in the Woodhaven last time out, for trainer Bobby Ribaudo; and John Q. Public, who joined Ian Wilkes' stable earlier this year and most recently finished fourth in an allowance race on May 5 at Churchill Downs.
El Charro and Condo King are entered for the main track only.